It was about mid-morning when I woke up to a loss of something that had been so prominent in my life. I grew up in a religious family which was mostly Baptist. Since I can remember I went to church regularly. I remember the dresses and dress shoes, the bows and hair ties, the crowds of men wearing suits and robes, middle-aged to older women wearing white or black dresses and skirts with dress coats and hats, and the not so forgettable stain glass windows, huge cross on top of the building, and organ pianos playing as we walked in to be seated. I did not like any of this at all. I disliked going back to school on Mondays, however I disliked this more than that. I moved around a lot as a child, yet there seemed to be no way out of my mother finding a church for us.
The sounds of people hollering and screaming, watching people fall to the floor because they caught the holy ghost, listening to the snippets of the pianist playing during the highlights of the preachers speech or testimony, having to pick up and read the red colored deteriorating book of hymns, and the clinking of coins being tossed into an overly shiny gold collection plate just made me bitter, angry, and resentful towards the people, the church, the system, and my mother for sending me there. The hardest part about swallowing this routine was the listening to the sermon. I had such problems with the over exaggerations, and the contradictions of the bible’s scriptures including the preachers interpretations.
Then there was the actions of the people who started to throw me off as I was able to understand the behavior of people better. People screamed in affirmation of following the religious laws and repenting their sins to get into the everlasting kingdom of heaven; yet, their actions and words were very contradictory to me, almost as if they were acting while in church. As I got older I questioned this more. And more so, I began to question the morality and ethics of how to live life compared to following the strict laws of the bible, and negating all of our responsibility to one man whom himself once had a human body.
Ironically, I married into a religious family who was Presbyterian. I started going to church with him and got married in that same church. And it began, my mind overruled my heart and all of a sudden I was question whether I had been wrong for question aspects of religion all that time. Had I been wrong about it being the absolute way to heaven? What the Lord our absolute way from staying our of the eternal damnation of the pits of the deepest hell? Was I on my way there? I saw scary images, had nightmares, and became scared of the world around me. I bought into it and went to church as an official follower, including the bible study. Lol, that did not last long at all.
My being began to reject what I was trying to force upon myself only to leave me in constant confusion. Rejecting religion made me resentful, but adopting it made me fearful. When I broke apart from the family, that world came falling down fast and hard. I went through a series of questions, religious book of various denominations, devaluing the spiritual leaders of all sorts, and so on. One mid-morning I woke up to a clear blue sky with the bright yellow light from the sun illuminating the through the cracks of my blinds, and the quiet silence in my room. In side me I knew directly that I did not need religion in my life; it was not for me. There was a huge release from my shoulders, my mind, and my emotions. I felt freedom from it in a peaceful way.
A few years later I learned those were parts of myself I was holding onto that I finally let go. They were resentful and fearful parts of me that once served as lessons but became attachments. In learning this, I learned there are and will be many, many losses of myself. They are not necessarily good or bad, they are just selves that we do not need. Life usually lets us know when to let go, but it is us who chooses to hold on tight and make it fit. Loss of the self is an opening, a beautiful opening to learn more only to lose those selves when it is time.