Okay. Here we go.
The other day I happened to catch some of "Oprah" (yes, I'm writing about something I saw on Oprah please bear with me) and was fascinated when I they started talking and interviewing catholic girls about to join a convent.
I basically know nothing about the Catholic religion. I basically know nothing about any religion. Religion is basically a big mind fuck for me.
I should say that I hate labels. I think that I do. But I think it's human nature to want to categorize, define, relate and belong. So here is where I say I consider myself agnostic. I can't claim to belong to or to believe any one religion is true. I can't claim to be atheist. Because I just don't know. I believe (not what YOU should believe but what I believe) that there is no way to know. Nothing can be proven. If I can't have proof I can't know.
I have a great respect for those who can believe in a God and a religion with nothing but faith to go on. I wanted to believe everything. I wanted to believe anything and everything was possible. I never wanted to be jaded or have doubt. When I found myself to be of a much more postmodern mind I was a little bummed. But in the end...how could I argue with proven scientific facts?
When I was little I was forced to go to church. To a kind of Christian church. I have never been to a Mormon church. I haven't been to a church now in years. What do I remember? Hating it. What did I learn? Nothing. I was bored. I was uncomfortable. I didn't want to dress up. The kids were mean and I didn't want to be there. I didn't understand any of it. I didn't have a sense of spirituality. I went back and forth between fearing the concept I had of Jesus and saying my prayers in case he was some kind of magical person or thing that could make my dreams come true.
Mostly I just felt guilt. Guilt if I swore. Guilt if I was "bad". Guilt if I didn't say my prayers. It didn't feel right to me. Either I should live in fear or ask for things from someone I felt no relationship with? Say a prayer in order to make a deal? I'll be really good if he'll just please let me have...whatever it was I was asking for. Material or not. This couldn't be what people experience with their God or religion, because this wasn't right.
Belonging to a religion, searching for what is true in that sense was never something that I needed. I feel very whole, very satisfied with my life. Sure there are a few where some practices sound more appealing then others. But it's basically the way you should treat people or view life that I like. Not the believing in a God.
Who's to say what God is the god? We can't all be right, so who's wrong? Right? Or is it all basically the same in the end?
Nobody can tell me. So I'm going to live my life. I don't judge anyone by what their religious view is (just don't push it on me and we'll get along fine) and appreciate it when I'm shown the same respect. I don't believe that if there is a great creator, whatever and whoever that may or may not be, that they are malicious. I believe I do my best, I make mistakes but I know that I am a good person.
I like the idea of reincarnation. I like the idea of karma. I've learned karma takes longer than you'd like sometimes. I've also learned it's not actually karma at all. It's called life. Everyone has their moment to shine and their moment where it all just plain sucks.
But back to Oprah.
Young and extremely religious girls going into a convent. I knew nothing about this. Did you know they give up all material possessions? Did you know they'll never have their own money for the rest of their lives? Did you know they go through a ceremony where they marry Jesus Christ? They are literally brides of christ.
I'm going to try my hardest to word everything with sensitivity and I am by no means judging here.
It showed the parents of some of the girls both on the day they left them to start their new lives at the convent and the day they get married. Some moms and dads were sad. Sad because they saw their daughters growing up to be married, to have children. Not to live this life of celibacy. I'm sure others are extremely proud. You can never question or fault someone who finds their true calling in life. Who knows exactly where they should be and what they should be doing. I'm learning how rare that is. I found mine. I know I'm lucky. But I got teary eyed. Teary that these young girls will never have the messy, hard, dirty, heartbreaking, gritty, wonderful, glorious life experiences that I did. The good, the bad and the ugly. They'll never know. At first I was so sad for them.
Then a nun a little older came on to talk about the moment she decided to join. She was already 31. She'd already gone through a decade of the messy and the wonderful. Oprah asked her when she knew. She had just finished decorating a room in her house, setting up a tv and entertainment system and knew right then that she could loose it all and it would be fine. That's when she knew. She went on to say she had been materialistic before. She wasn't preachy. She was awesome.
Think about it for a minute. The idea that you give up all material possessions to live simply...and more fully, they say. Not gonna lie, there are times that seems fantastic. No facebook, no computer, no drama...the list goes on. Can you even imagine it? I mean really imagine it?
I then thought of a line from the play I just finished, "The Persian Quarter". It was, "to devote yourself to your family is a kind of charity. Charity is a gift to Allah and will be rewarded". Can you imagine devoting your entire life to serve others? To serve your god? To devote your entire life to what you believe with every bit of your heart and soul is right? To make sacrifices to do so?
Wait. Isn't that what we all do for what and who we love? It's not an easy road no matter how you take it. For anyone. I wasn't sad at all for them. Now I was inspired. Isn't it amazing there are people who believe differently than you? Who chose to go a route we can't fathom? Who live so differently than you and I? I've said it before and I've said it again, there is no right or wrong. We are each others teachers.
I think there's so much more to learn from these incredible girls (and from everyone we encounter). I've been mulling it over for a couple days and I can't stop thinking about it. I know there's more I'm supposed to take away from it all.
Maybe it's to tell me it's really start time to finding my way to life above the "nonsense". To learn how not to let the small things bother me. To not hurt my feelings. To not worry about the people who aren't worrying about me. You know, the things we are all constantly struggling to truly do.
For now, I just needed to get this much out.