Last week, while leaving a meeting, one of the members of the group yells to me, “Happy Easter, Hilda”. I respond to her, “Thank you, likewise”, and make my way down the hall and out the building. Whenever the traditional Christian holidays come up throughout the year, it can become very awkward for individuals like myself, that do not get heavily involved in religious traditions as I have in the past.
There was a time in which I would consider myself more of a religious type person. I practiced most of typical traditions of the church I was a member of but was never a die-hard Christian. When I was in my twenties and newly married my husband and I were exploring different religions. He was interested in the Nation of Islam but I was not down with it at all. It was way to strict. Too many rules. So, we tried out the Seventh Day Adventist Church for a little while as my dad’s side of the family are Adventist. Again, I wasn’t feeling it. So, I went back to the religion that my mom’s family had been brought up in, the AME Church.
When I hit my thirties, I started getting to a point where I started questioning everything about about life. EVERYTHING. When it came down to the topic of religion, it just seemed odd to me that there were so many different religions with all these different practices that were apparently supposed to getting them to the same final destination. I just didn’t see how that was possible. It has to be more simple than that.
So, after my divorce, when I decided to restructure my life, I decided that I would focus more on being a spiritual being versus a religious one.
What does this mean to me?
This means that:
- I do believe in a Higher Power of whom I choose to call God.
- I do not need to go to church to have a deeper connection with God.
- My children are not being neglected because they are not in the choir or going to church every Sunday.
- I pray and meditate regularly
- I will never judge someone for how they define their spiritual or faith walk (even if I do not understand it)
You know at the end of the day what works for me, works for me. Many people in my family are very concerned about me and my children because we do not go to church anymore. But I have to reassure them that the act of going to church does not mean that we are not spiritual and that we do not believe in God. And let’s keep it 100, how many people do we know are going to church every week that are spiritually void? Okay?!?! So, that mean absolutely nothing as far as I am concerned.
I have had very candid conversations with my children on this topic. I encourage my children to question everything – even the values and teachings that I have taught them. It is so easy to conform to societal standards because everyone accepts is as a norm. But if it does not work for you, then it is not for you. And that is perfectly okay.