I, personally, am not wired for it. Not.
That said, unlike a lot of people these days, I love religions. All of them. Present and past. I think religions are important and valuable and necessary and that they do a lot of good.
(Harm, too, of course, but my inner purist is pretty battered at this point. The wild ride from shining eyes to growling cynic to the mysteries of a hospice bedside was a bitch, but it did leave me with this one kernel of truth: Throwing stones is hard on my hope.)
I don’t currently belong to a religion, although I used to convert a lot back in the day. In my troubled teens and twenties I was something of a spiritual nomad crossing the vast desert of life and let me just say…when you’re exiled and wandering through the dunes and darkness like that, you can’t afford to be picky about who’s well you will or will not drink out of. A ladleful of grace is a ladleful of grace and I was glad for every offer.
I found the same kind of life-saving grace at the heart of each religion I fell in with. Even though the words they used were often different…not to mention their customs, costumes, stories, and songs (and sometimes even their Gods)…still, that rippling, silver grace lying pooled in the bottom of each ladle was the same.
Maybe that’s why I’ve never been able to choose between them…commit to just one and forsake all the others. Because how could I turn my back on any of these friends who once took me in from the night, bathed and bandaged my feet, and let me rest till I was stronger? I can’t shake the feeling that that would betray the very grace they once shared with me. I may not be a Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or Jew or Shinto or Muslim or Taoist or Pagan…or any of the other beautiful, twinkling, mysterious faiths that offer the shelter of tents where we can kneel in safety and drink with both hands…but I still love and believe in them all, in their value, imperfection, and gifts. In the grace lying veiled and tender at their cores.
Y’know, the thought just occurred to me…maybe I am spiritually monogamous, just not to a religion or a God. What if it’s that grace I keep finding everywhere that won me over time?
Although not even over time really. It was love at first contact. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker the first time I ever experienced it as a small child, long before I entered a church, had any words to describe it, or even knew that grace was a thing. Honestly? I have no idea in the grand scheme what that feeling of being enfolded and cradled is all about, where it comes from, or if it comes from anywhere. Whether it’s a sign of something divine, a neurological by-product, or something generated by an as-yet-to-be-discovered energy field like electro-magnetism or gravity.
What I do know is that without its influence over the years, the odds of my surviving to write this blog post were pretty bad and I can hardly bear to think about everything I would have missed. So yeah, maybe I’m wired to be spiritually monogamous after all. Who knew?
(This piece of beauty is called Night Sky Over Desert Dunes and is an acrylic on canvas by artist Kathryn Beals. 8×10 prints are available here for $14.00 USD. Something of a steal really.)
copyright Dia Osborn 2013