Excerpt from the novel, I AM this Woman
I pray, to myself, everyday actually. This isn’t a new thing, I have being doing this since I was a little girl. Not really knowing who or what I was praying to, but just talking to someone who didn’t judge me or ask anything of me…just putting my thoughts out there into the ether. As I got older and the world around me got a little crazier, to say the least, I started inquiring about faith, beliefs, others religions and what that meant to people. The majority would say it was their place of peace, of comfort and community.
When I was finishing my arts degree I met a young lady who was proudly Greek. I was on my own at the time over Easter and she had asked if I would like to partake in their midnight mass. Curious and excited to dress up I walked up the path to her and her communities Greek Orthodox Church. There were hundreds of people, beautifully turned out and tables laden with food. Glowing candles were held in our hands as we walked the streets for the Easter Passover. Children giggling and glowing that they were up way past their bedtime. But there was something else, there was a feeling of oneness that is very hard to find and connect with.
Needless to say I didn’t become Greek Orthodox, but that beauitful spirit of that night never left. The prayers were done, the mutual greeting and shaking of hands and then we were back off into the world of competition, daily grind and lonliness. If there was ever a time to convert I suppose it would have been then.
I have been to many churches since that time, in fact all of my children have been baptised and have received the Holy Sacraments within the Catholic church. They were given a faith, something I wanted very much for myself. A place in the time of a storm that will open it’s doors and not question why you are there.
My strength comes from my core belief in my faith, the one that has always been in my little pocket. I take it out when times are hard and because I have been doing this for so many years it is like breathing, you know your doing it but you don’t question it.
My family never baptised me, it never dawned on me that they hadn’t, it was only when my first sibling arrived and he was baptised that I questioned it.
When I asked about it the response was, ‘We thought we would let you decide when you grew up?’ Being a child of the late 60’s, maybe this was her breaking free from society and along with it, burning bras. Whatever the reason it left me feeling not as grounded or connected as those that had been, those being my siblings. It was like their own private secret society and I hadn’t been a thought into that process.
Years later on I fell in love with a man of great faith, he watched as I attended church with my children, as I happily agreed to go to Easter Mass. He showed me the sacraments and the reconciliation as well as taught me that the church is dark, and clouded within it’s own dramas. This we all know, I for one have questioned many times why those men need to wear fuchsia hats and more diamonds and gold than Elizabeth Taylor, God rest her soul.
As I travelled and lived abroad I watched all different faiths, and their customs. When living in Dubai the Mosque call to prayer would sing out five times a day, it was a slight hum and actually became very comforting that they would take the time to just reflect. In Scotland, Sunday Mass was always a huge turnout and the Priests were knowledgeable, aware of the world’s strife, and openly aware with the dysfunction of it’s institution. It was refreshing to say the least and it made me remember when I was little and it was simpler, to just be at one with your thoughts, worries, concerns and hopes.
Living in Canada there was a strong Indian community, the elders would dance and chant and smudge (burning sage), I loved it, I love all of it. We need grounding, a community and a moment when all is right with the world and our world within. To observe so many faiths from within I have been very blessed. Currently I live in a Buddhist country, and on my wedding we lived in a monastery for a week. That was a week of getting back to my own base, no words were spoken, no eye contact was made, and the eating area was separated into male and female areas. By the 3rd day the monkey chatter in my mind had stopped and I could see.
One day I would like to visit the Vatican. Why not, it’s all of our history. I am married to a man who sees no borders of any religious type. It is refreshing, he is Catholic and loves his faith, but in truth he loves them all. He has studied the Quran, and he once tried to become a priest at the age of 14. He stands for his faith yet sees it’s faults, but they all have them. Like people, faiths can falter.
My own baptism eventually happened for me. I wanted to be apart of my children’s community, of my husbands love, and what had clearly been a search for me for many years. Years before when I was in counseling with my high school, the councilor when hearing of what I had been thru asked, “How do you get up every morning and be able to smile?” I looked at him, straight into his eyes, “Because everyday is a new day, you just have to believe that, you just have to have faith”. I too was 16 when I announced that out loud. At 47, that thought process has not changed.
I have had a great deal of love and support sent to me after writing, ‘I am just waiting on a train’. I thank you. I am grateful for this, and grateful to the people that have been my strength. There is one though that has been here, thru all of this. Thru my nightmares, my losses and when I just couldn’t get out of bed. When all I had was getting lesser by the day, he still stood there, on guard, fighting off the wolves.
After our coffee date that day, he gave me a limited edition of his first book, ‘Fighting Your Demons’. He then told he was going to head out for that day and just left me with that book. His concerns were that I wouldn’t want to see him after reading it, as in there was a whole lot of truth within those pages. And so that is exactly what he did.
I read it, twice. Inside was a life, a big one. I am not sure that any one person I have met before or since has met with one if not all of these experiences. Later that afternoon, there was a knock at my door. He had a fresh haircut, a packed bag and said so, “Your coming with me, because I am on a journey and I am moving this way quick, can you handle it?”
‘Yeah’, I prayed to myself, I got this.
I AM this woman, who are you?
Have Faith not Fear