Posts Tagged 'Family'

Hiding in the wings…

When I was young, I was what most people would regard as extremely superstitious (and in fact, I’m still relatively so).  I thought the back corner of our yard was evil, and would not go past our elm tree (about 20 feet from said corner) past dusk or so, unless there were other people around with me.  I thought that if I behaved a certain way, wanted it bad enough, and “proved that I could make it”, that whatever omniscient being I felt was in charge of the universe would grant my wish and send me back in time.  I believed these things pretty much until the end of high school.

What’s interesting about this is that I was raised with no religion at all.  My maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister who was kicked out of the church for preaching that the bible, while a good example of how to be a good person, was not explicitly true.  I think this was a great thing to say, but, well, the church did not, and he got the boot.  When I was a kid, my mother had a very negative view of organized religion, and I strongly suspect this is at least part of why.  My father was raised in a Presbyterian church by relatively devout parents (my grandfather literally kidnapped me once as a kid, to try and have me baptized before my parents could find him) and while he had some fond memories, he didn’t really believe in raising a kid with a religion either.

Now, their goal was partially to let me choose my own path, and partially to attempt to steer me away from organized religion, keep me from believing in a greater universal force, etc.  Ironically, by leaving me to my own devices, I ended up creating my own little personal religion (which, while not Christianity, did involve a higher being, etc), in response to the vacuum that was my spiritual life.  It was 100% personal, too.  I never told a soul.  I don’t think it was intentional, but as a kid, I got the impression that having a religion was a negative thing, and even seen as vaguely shameful in my family.  As a kid who was very aware of how I was perceived, I did not want to let my parents know that I was indeed a spiritual person.

I remember when, around age 14 or so, my best friend (who was raised Irish Catholic) asked me what I thought happened after we died.  I said, without hesitation, “They put you in the ground and you rot.”.  She was taken aback by this frankness and apparent atheism, and I remember feeling a great degree of internal conflict over wanting to tell her what I felt happened to the rest of a person once they died.  Even today, I am very hesitant to discuss religion, especially my early days of it.  I wish I could be more open about it, and I’m hoping that this blog will help with that.

What is this?

I intend to use this space to talk about my feelings on religion, spirituality, etc.  I was raised in a non-religious, non-spiritual home, but have always considered myself a rather spiritual person.  I started attending a Unitarian Universalist church in college, but switched to attending a Quaker Meeting (on a very, very irregular basis) by the end of my studies.  Though I have not attended a meeting on a regular basis, due to my moving around so much, it has very much resonated with me.  I am overseas right now, and upon my return to the US, I intend to further explore this aspect of my life more directly, but for now, I’d just like to use this space as somewhat of a “brain dump” on the subject of me and spirituality, etc.

Oh, and the title of the blog is from a joke that a friend of mine made once, that the bumpersticker for Quakers should be:  “Quakerism:  Shut Up and Listen”.   Given my propensity to talk my head off, I often have to tell myself this, and so I found it funny and appropriate.


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