Sunday, December 14, 2008

this I believe

I recently had the fortune of coming across this I believe. what started as an NPR radio program has now become two books, a podcast, a community movement, and much much more. it's quite inspiring to hear the beliefs of all types of people and in turn to reconnect with and think about your own beliefs. I believe I have more than one belief, but when I decided to write my own this I believe essay, this is what came out:

I believe in asking questions. as a child I grew up in a religion built on blind faith. no room for thought or doubt, only endless submission to a big bearded guy in the sky that seemed incapable of making something as delightful as the trees I climbed or as funny as the creatures I found digging in the dirt. "he" was a god to fear. a god with a long list of rules to be followed. it never made any sense to my curious mind and wild heart. when I was 10, my family moved from the flat of the heartland to the mountains of the northwest. the simple act of changing our scenery in turn changed our entire lives.

through the relocation we set about establishing a new belief system, one that was unconstrained by fundamentalism and its answers for everything and instead rooted in the fundamental truth of questioning the answers. I watched my parents discover their own truths and was in turn given the space to find my own. slowly our lives moved away from who we were taught we should be while we worked passionately and often awkwardly towards figuring out who we wanted to be. through the process I always trusted myself and my good intentions as I renegotiated my relationship with "god". in the end, I learned that to find god, I didn't need a building with a cross, or a stale cracker and a glass of grape juice; I didn't need the gibber gabber of tongue speak or the monotony of a well practiced prayer. god was everywhere. god was in me and in everything and everyone. god was to be found in the act of loving myself and everyone I met no matter how differently they believed. god wasn't the answer, god was the asking.

it is this belief that has separated me and my immediate family from the family we came from. they do not see god in me. they do not believe there is a place for me in their heaven. but that is fine. for me, heaven has been the new life my family was given -- the life we gave ourselves. the chance to change -- to fully realize the life that I want to live not limited by false judgment and intolerance but liberated through understanding and acceptance. a life of endless discovery and rediscovery. I believe in a life that seeks less answers and instead delights in the freedom to question the endless wow and infinite mystery of living.

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