So, I joke a lot with my friends that my road to hell is paved with many pathways, just so if one is blocked I will still be sure to get there. But the truth is, I don’t believe that at all. I was sitting in church this past Sunday, holding back tears, and thinking, “I have no place here anymore.” I’ve written about my faith before, but let’s talk a bit more about it. This is where I am and I am in no way trying to impose my ideas on anyone.
When I go to church, I feel empty, spiritually. There are so many amazing people in my church, but I still feel the most alone when I am at church. I’m still trying to figure out where my faith is. Not sure if I am lacking faith or lacking faith in organized religion. I have gone to other churches. Nothing. Emptiness. I fight tears through the entire service.
As I have said before, I ran to my faith when I had anxiety. I ran to my faith when my marriage was shaken to it’s core the first time. But I have also spent a lot of time in churches working on the business aspect, with the hypocrisy. We have all seen it. Westboro Baptist, preaching hatred. I’ve seen that hatred in my own town. I’m still searching in the Bible where Jesus says we should hate people for who they are. I’m still trying to find the passage that says we are the ones to judge and determine who goes to Hell. I am pretty sure certain churches would have a field day with my family. Hypocrisy. I wasn’t raised on hate. I was raised to do things like put hundreds of dollars of cash into a car door, because I knew it wasn’t mine and maybe it dropped out of that car and they had been saving for 10 years for their vacation (my ex could not believe I would do that). I was raised to help those in need, whether I agreed with their beliefs or not. I have learned to be exactly me, and never apologize for it. What I learned from studying the Bible is that it doesn’t matter if you are white, black, gay, straight, Jewish, Muslim, Mexican, Pakistani, someone who saves themselves more marriage, or a slut. We should all love one another for who we are.
It is not our place to judge. Let me be clear on this. I judge. I judge a lot. My judgment is not right and I know that. My first impressions can be harsh. But I take the time to listen and try my best to keep my judgment in check and to be open to change my initial judgment. I am in no way claiming to be better than anyone.
I actually believe my faith is strongest when I am not confined to the church walls. When I don’t have to worry about the politics of church. When I don’t have to worry about who I am supposed to pretend to be so I can hold my place in Heaven. I don’t have to sit in a pew with my arms raised in order to receive God’s love. I find it on a hiking trail or in the eyes of my dog. And I’m not knocking those that find it in a traditional way. Everyone’s path is different.
So, I tell my friends, my road to Hell has been paved already. But I don’t really believe it. I truly believe my road to Heaven is paved quite beautifully, and paved just for me.