Wednesday Words- The end of the beginning
So why am I writing this blog post? Why is it so important that I tell everyone that I feel differently now? Why not just keep it a secret and not risk the loss of friends or family? Because I don't like keeping secrets. And this is a BIG one. Because I am not ashamed of the choices I have made, quite the contrary, I feel I have worked really hard to be where I am and I am a better person for it. It all boils down to one thing, however: I believe that civil disagreements with people we disagree with may be the most important conversations we can have. Talking openly to someone we love about our disagreements helps hone our own beliefs, helps us understand a new perspective and helps us learn to live together.
So, it is with a lot of time, a lot of conversations with good friends, and a lot of thoughtful consideration that I got from where I left off to where I am now. The research I was doing on the historical background of the church, past leaders and their beliefs (sometimes deeply troubling beliefs) and the recent actions of the church which make it seem much more corporate than religious, made all that surety of belief dissolve. It was both terrifying and exciting. It was like someone had taken all the files in the moral part of my brain and threw up them in the air. I have spent the last year and a half grabbing files, reviewing them and putting them back in place (sometimes a new place and sometimes right back where they were). It has been empowering to say the least to take charge of my life like that and carefully consider why I believe what I believe.
I venture to write this post without using labels for where I stand right now. Labels are much more final than the actual journey. They make it a lot easier for us to shut off our analytical side and see a list of common results instead of the nuanced individual experience. Life is much more complex than a label. This experience has taught me how much I haven't been seeing in those around me. I have a lot to listen to, a lot to observe and less judgement to make. I endeavor to follow what my core principles are, and I have decided that developing a moral core must be separate (for me and my family) from any belief in a higher power. I believe that we must be kind to one another because that is how society functions best, because that is the treatment I want for myself. I believe we all benefit when we bear in mind what our actions will do to others. I believe that kindness comes when we realize other peoples needs may be different from our own.
I truly feel I am growing to be a better person now than I ever was. I love religion because gives a wonderful sense of community and gives us an opportunity to contemplate and discuss the infinite and the unexplainable. Your beliefs are important to me. I have great hopes for your happiness. So let this be the end of some of the old ways of doing things and beginning of a new more open conversation. I am here, I am trying to live and love the best I can. Let the discussions begin.