Spiritual Paths

1/21/06 by Racheal

Now, I just want to preface this with the fact that I am not proselytizing or anything. THis might not even be the correct forum. I just felt like sharing today.

Some people who know me would never believe that I was spiritual, but I do believe that I am; deeply so at times. I believe in God. I believe that he talks to me through signs. I believe that he talks to all of us if we open our eyes and look around and pay attention and think about things on a deeper level than the surface.

I've been thinking tonight. I had a very nice conversation with Blair. He has met a new girl and is very enamored by her and I am very glad for him. This led to a far deeper conversation and it has made me quite contemplative.

My point I suppose is that a lot of times we are so caught up in our own lives that we don't take the time to step back and that is not a good thing.

Recently, I have been feeling that God is taking care of me more than I usually notice. It started when I was young I suppose. I think I might be committed for this, but I'm going to put it all out there. I used to believe when I was very young that God was speaking to me and his voice would come to me from the pit of my belly. It was like the rumbling of truth rattling through my insides. I always took heed and felt good about it. It was never crazy things. It was always things about how to treat others or how to behave. I know that sounds quite crazy to most, but to me it made total sense. I believe that God was with me throughout my early life as well. It is the only way that I can explain how I got to this point in my life with any degree of success.

I wouldn't call myself completely Christian, as I have many issues with this religion as a whole. I have many problems with the idea of Christ as a person who "died for my sins". I don't know if I believe that honestly. I would much rather believe that Christ was a wise man, a prophet who the herald of God's words: a man who was able to interpret the signs that God set forth for us to receive. And, in that way, I believe that he was a son of God and sent to save us, but I don't believe that he was crucified to cleanse me of my sins. I believe that he was a son of God, like I am a daughter of God, and like the readers of this essay are also children of God.

I also take exception to the ostentatious displays of "Christianity" and the pretentiousness of most organized churches. I don't believe that you are a follower of God or Christ because you have made sure to show everybody that you are. I don't believe that by making an elaborate production over one's "goodness" or piety that a person is more likely to go to heaven or hell. To me, the people who make such a performance of their belief and little to actually exhibit their beliefs are no better than modern day Pharisees. These are the people who tithe and attend services regularly and then sit at home and pass judgment upon others because their lives are not led the same way or because they are of a different race or creed. I have encountered people of this ilk in my experiences with churches.

As a child, I was always willing to try out new churches or to learn new ideas. I was told at the tender age of 10 that I was no better than a common lady of the night if I continued to cut my hair or to wear a sundress in high July. I was told that if I did not take Jesus into my heart that I would suffer eternal damnation. I was given the words to say; the precise and exacted words to mumble while my head was bowed in order to allow our one true savior to love me. I uttered the words as a brother of the church hovered above me and threatened my child soul. To me, this is not the way to bring your flock into the fold. To shame them with fear is not to teach them to love. I believe that the basic tenets of Christianity revolve around love and respect, which to me are basically interchangeable.

I would like to believe that I have led a good life; that I have treated others with love. I have helped the less fortunate and I have helped myself. I have been honest and moral and ethical. And, I believe that this is what God wants from us. My point is not to praise my life or to pass judgment. I started out to expound upon the spiritual discourse between me and my God.

As I was spoken to as a child, I was spoken to as a young adult. And, I am being spoken to again. God helped me raise myself up and to become the mostly whole person I am today. I've begun to realize the hand that he has played in my life.

Perhaps the most significant role in my life has been music. God gave me the gift of music. He allowed for me to love music and to search music out for myself. It makes me happy. It helps me grow. It enriches me. I believe that God wants our lives to be enriched.

For a long time, I was in a relationship. BE and I spent almost 7 years together. While, I can say that there were many good things that came from that relationship, they were not enough to make me whole. I learned a lot, and grew even more in that relationship than I could have imagined I would in the beginning. For this I am thankful.

I suppose how God comes into play is through music again. For the first 4 years of this relationship, I was basically happy. I was secure and safe. As I started to grow, I realized that I wanted more. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be a happy person who was my own person. I didn't want to live for another person. God was helping me to see this. He made it possible for me to want these things. As time wore on, I started to realize that my partner did not want me to be whole. He did not want me to have my own interests. He did not care if I bettered myself.

I found the music of Ben Folds. I know that many of you would laugh, but I believe that God introduced this to me in a series of events. I had gone to Nashville, TN for a music conference. At one of the shows, I saw Self and Fluid Ounces. I said to my friends (who had invited me down with them) that FO reminded me of Ben Folds Five. This was a group that I had liked early on in college, but because of superstitious reasons, I had stopped listening to. This was right after September 11 and right after Ben Folds first solo album Rocking the Suburbs came out. I didn't realize at that time that BFF had broken up the year before. I enjoyed the show. I went home and bought up the entire BFF catalog and soon went to see Ben Folds perform live in Carbondale.

I stupidly got sloppy drunk and barely remembered most of the show. This set me out on a path to remember the show. I went to see Ben again a month or two later. I also started to frequent an online forum that I refer to as the .org. BE began to become very jealous of my newfound interest. It had inspired me to want to learn to play the piano. I had always wanted to play an instrument. I had never been allowed to play in band growing up due to money reasons mostly, but I had always wanted to learn. I bought a bass guitar my jr year of high school. I taught myself a little bit, but without any other first hand experience or witnessing of playing, I let it fall to the wayside.

I love the piano. I had always wanted to play as a child, but that was definitely not going to happen. So, as I had expressed my desire to play, BE quashed it. He dismissed it as a stupid endeavor and discouraged me. My uncle in the meantime had given me an old beat up piano. As I look back now, it probably would have cost me more to restore it than to buy a newer one, but I thought it would be perfect to practice upon. BE disallowed it. He would not permit it to be brought into the house that we had bought. He sited lack of space as a reason. But, there were two extra rooms. So, that never really washed with me.

I wanted to go see BF in Louisville, KY. I had the offer of a girl from the .org to pick up my ticket for me. And, I was ready to go. This devolved into a great fight and BE forbade me to go. I gave in. He was very jealous and made disparaging remarks against Ben Folds. I don't know why. I did spend a lot of time listening to his music and at the message board, but it was mostly boredom and a newly found hobby that kept me going back. This was the summer before my last semester in college. About a month later, BE asked me if I wanted to start planning our wedding.

We had been engaged for going on 5 years at this point. The plan had been to wait until I finished college and then we would cement our relationship. The truth of it was that over the last few years, our relationship had fermented into a bitter brew. I honestly had been thinking of not staying in the relationship. I have to say at this point that BE had many fine points about him. He generally was a good guy and had been a great support of growth in our early relationship. He overall was a kind person and wasn't exceedingly mean and never abusive or anything, but when people start out young and grow, it isn't alwyas together. I found fault with myself and tried to make sure it would be alright, but when this question arose, I was honest and mature and answered that I would like to work on several aspects of our relationship first. I felt that his lack of support and encouragement in my personal endeavors was weakening our bond. And, I felt that his lack of respect for me was a solvent that mixed well with his selfishness into the potion that was dissolving our relationship.

He could not handle this. He took it as personal attack. I had left out that I felt that he was selfish and disrespectful. I had been very nice and supportive. I suggested we seek therapy together and told him that I had bigger dreams than southern Illinois and being a housewife or whatever. I told him that I didn't want to be an adornment to his life, that I hoped we could both be a compliment to each other. I felt that was a very good way to explain what I needed.

This did not work out. He cheated and left about a month later. I was of course left thinking that this was the worst thing that could have happened at this time. I was student teaching and had little money and no place to go. I figured it out.

As time went on, I moved on rather quickly and happily. I graduated. I dated several people in the next couple of years. Most of whom were nice and interesting and funny, but none of these men really kept me interested or, worse yet, kept my respect. I eventually met the most amazing Chris through the .org forum. And, things are amazing. He is all I could hope for and twice what I could dream of.

Now, how does this all relate to God? I believe that God introduced these outlets into my life in order for me to rectify my life. I believe that by exposing me to music that makes me happy and healthy outlets for my thoughts, God was helping me to see that my life could be more fulfilling. I believe that by exposing BE;s selfishness, cowardice, and hatred for any interests that I had, God was showing just what my future held. BE was so opposed to these new ventures in my life because he could see that they would lead me away from him.

God led me to this place where I am today. God is making bad situations good for me. He is helping me to accept what I have and to want what I haven't got. He is helping me to realize what I have to do to get to those places. I thank him everyday for this. I am thankful for where I am, for what I've seen, and what I've learned.

Recently, God has been speaking to me again. He has been speaking to me about my brother. As I had written the other day, I have been at my wits end with Erick. I spoke to Chris about it. The very next day, my aunt called to talk to me about Erick. I didn't have to instigate this conversation. I did not have to even let her know how I had been feeling. She called. She told me the same things that Chris told me. This was God. God was telling me that they speak the truth. He wanted me to pay attention. And, I listened.

I spoke with my brother about my role and his role and our future. I laid it out. Now, whether or not it will take hold of him, I cannot say. But, I know. I know my role.

I know that it is weird to say that my injury could be brought upon by God. I don't believe that. But, I do believe that God is speaking to me to help me to realize that I have to leave this place; that I have to better my self even more. He is telling me to go and find my place and be happy. He is showing me that this is the best opportunity for this and now is the time to do it. And, I am going to heed that word as well.

This essay has devolved to a retelling of some major events of my life, but I feel that they are what make me who I am and what makes me so sure that God is present in my life. I only wish that everybody could rest assured and know that this is what God wants and to know that God is ever present in their lives. I wish that everybody could be so secure and take comfort. I know that when I am lost, I will be led. I know that I will never be totally alone, even when I feel that way. I know that there is a higher purpose and I will take comfort.

I know I sound a bit preachy and that isn't my point. My point is that I want you to follow your path to God and to interpret him in your own way, but do it. Know him.