I was recently inspired by my dear friend, Lisa Kramer’s, Creativity Challenge to simply do something creative during this challenging time. So, I’m rising to that challenge today because I was suddenly struck by something that is corollary to what many have been voicing lately (including an open letter, falsely attributed to Bill Gates, that resonated with many despite it not actually being Bill’s ideas) that there may be some good that comes out of what is undoubtedly a trying and frightening time. And so, here I am at an almost forgotten blog site I created upon the passing of my husband nearly three years ago.
At that time, I thought writing would help me heal from that devastating blow. Writing has always come easily to me, was my favorite thing to teach, and has been a refuge for me in many painful times. But, in the end, that was not the case. In order to survive, I died inside and so nothing would come out on paper. Instead, I buried my grief under work and daily activities and lots of things that looked like living, but weren’t. I am recently rebirthed into the land of the living only to find myself in the midst of a truly stunning global upending of human existence that is challenging all our knowns. Forcing us to find our inner reserves. Which brings me to the subject of God.
Spiritual to varying degrees throughout my life, I’ve resisted religion in any formal sense since I was about 12. For context, I was raised Catholic and hold a Christian viewpoint since that’s how I was raised, but I’ve really always more identified with the Transcendentalists of the 19th century who thought they were closer to God in nature than in a church pew. Not surprisingly, my thirst for spirituality has increased since the passing of my husband. And this is why I was pondering all of this anyway. For a long, long time, I was angry with religion. For its failures. I focused on the judgment, fear, guilt, hate, and punishment I found there. Please understand that I do acknowledge that many churches and devout followers (I have many wonderful friends & family who fall into this category) do much good in the world- but for me, the math just didn’t tilt toward overall good. It was a net loss in my ledger. I recently went to a friend’s mom’s funeral and found my eye looked differently upon what I found inside. The words, the people, the rites, not to mention, the unsurpassed baked goods you find in a church fellowship hall. It had all shifted a bit for me and I realized it was because I had changed inside. My recent spiritual journey had taken me inward and that has changed my world view on what I found sitting on a church pew.
So, in my recent musings, I’ve landed on a realization. As David Hawkins noted, every great teacher since the beginning of time has said to look within and find the truth, for the truth of what we really are will set us free. In so many churches this has been lost. People go in and come out only momentarily changed, if at all. We look outside ourselves to put something in us that will make us do better or feel better when all the time we’d be better off pulling out our better-doing, better-feeling selves. We already have those things within us. We don’t need much teaching for this, it is innate when we can simply remind ourselves to tap into it. God is an inside job. This is what I see in all the immensely good ways people are responding to this pandemic. Are you seeing it? Are you noticing more families riding bikes, taking walks, putting together puzzles, playing games, creating videos together, helping their moms and dads figure out how to teach, fostering shelter animals, sewing masks, posting social media recordings of sonnets, music, and drama, looking out for their neighbors, feverishly researching the virus, making tough decisions to go to work for the greater good? So many people are doing the right things in so many beautiful ways. We are pulling our better-selves out for one another. I find God in all of these acts and so many others that are playing out in this Shakespearean drama that we are living in. If you haven’t been looking, start. Then, look inside and find your better self and share some of that with the world.