Searching for the Divine
Anyone who knows me personally, knows that many years ago I stepped away from the church. Away from the Christian religion and from God altogether. In the years since, I’ve labeled myself “Pagan” which seems to make people uncomfortable. And that doesn’t really fit me completely, either. So, right now I’m searching. That’s what I am.
I walked away from religion after I felt unneeded and unwanted by my church at the time. I felt that I had been a leader with the children and then suddenly dismissed as unimportant…or worse, inappropriate. I never received a real reason why I wouldn’t be “allowed” to lead Children’s Worship any longer. I was told that they weren’t going to let me on stage and my only real place in the church was where no one could see me or not serving at all. My heart was ripped out that day and I’ve never truly returned to the church – or God – since then. I’ve flirted with the possibility but I can’t seem to find my way into that circle of trust again.
For several years after that, I tore myself up. I believed I was not good for anyone in this world if even “God’s people” couldn’t find an acceptable place for me. The damage done to me by that one HUMAN act was the death of my SPIRITUAL nature and beliefs. I was lost and no longer had a divine source of direction anymore.
At 40, I feel like my eyes were opened. To a lot of things. The real world. The real me. My place here. It’s been a slow five years but I’m learning that there is a place for the divine in my life and a place for me with the divine. But, I don’t think my beliefs are the typical or “acceptable” version of the divine that so many of you hold close. And that is one of the biggest reasons I still struggle – where do I find others like me?
There’s a line in the movie Angels & Demons that “[the Catholic Church] is a beacon, a source of inspiration for one billion lost and frightened people”. To me, that is a very profound statement, even if it comes from a work of fiction. But, there’s a problem with it – does it really apply to me anymore?
I don’t necessarily feel lost anymore; I know who I am and where I’m headed in life even if I don’t necessarily know how I’m going to get there. I don’t feel frightened of the unknown future and in fact I would like to truly embrace it! However, I do need inspiration sometimes, particularly in my art; I’d like my work to be an inspiration and encouragement to others. I do need a source of strength to draw from when my inner well is dry and no one has helped me fill it back up. Mostly…
I need a source of light that I can turn to. A beacon. My pagan beliefs haven’t found a source bright enough, steady enough, to be my lighthouse. Maybe because I wasn’t raised in paganism and finding my way to it as an adult isn’t as easy as growing up in the church. But, the light of the church, the fire of organized religion, has dimmed beyond rekindling for me. I don’t know that I can ever actively participate in an organized service again, believing in that many humans at once. But maybe, just maybe, God’s light is still strong enough for me to recognize it. Or is it the Goddess I need? This is why I am looking into Christo-Pagan paths; my beliefs are split… or maybe they’re combined?
Somewhere there has to be a place where I can believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful God but also in a loving, strong, intelligent Goddess. Where my beliefs in a perfect union between the strength and protection of the real Alpha male and the beautiful soul of the Divine Feminine can work. But…I have questions. And I don’t know if anyone can answer them.
If I have a belief in both sides of the coin, can I / do I pray to both entities? Are they jealous of one another? Do I have to say the right kind of prayer, at the right time, with the right traditions and “extras” to the right entity? Or do they work in true harmony, as a perfect union, knowing my beliefs in both and they sort the work out between them? Do I have to light candles and speak to the corners to work with the spirits and the Goddess? Do I have to attend church and read scripture for God to hear me? Are the rituals and traditions of blessings and confession and prayers truly divine-desired or are they mankind’s way of focusing and channeling those actions?
As long as I send up prayers of thankfulness, fear, and weakness, will both God and the Goddess love and accept and assist me because they know my heart and acecpt me as I am, my naked soul exposed to them without hesitation?
One of my favorite scriptures when I was a devout Christian was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18a: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances”.
Right now, I feel like I don’t really direct those prayers, those thoughts of thankfulness, my rejoicings. But they are continually going out into the universe because the “without ceasing” part always resonated with me. Not just in times of doubt or struggle or need. Not just asking for things but being thankful for the things that I do have, the situations I’m rescued from daily, the help given to others, requesting intercession when I cannot assist those I love.
But, without someone (some thing?) to direct those thoughts to, are they being received? Am I treating the divine communication like a ham radio, just sending out the sound waves and hoping they’re picked up by the right ears? Do the divine care about the pomp and circumstance and “properness”? Or do they simply want the honest express of emotion, the admission of weakness, the belief that something greater than ourselves will provide what’s needed at the right time and however that is done they can pick it up and run with it?
I do believe in something greater than myself! That there must be something out there helping us, guiding us, rescuing us, raising us up. My mind insists there must be a divine form of some sort; science alone does not explain all that happens in this life. My heart says I will never know the whys and wherefores of that divinity; I will never understand all that is needed or what path is right in their eyes. My soul reminds me I’m not supposed to understand the divine; I am to be forever searching and simply trying to emulate the light I see.
So, for now, I’m still searching. And hoping. And praying…without ceasing.