Traditions #sol16

I never celebrated holidays as a child–well, up until I left for college. My family was Jehovah’s Witnesses, so that meant nothing “wordly”: no birthdays, no Christmas, definitely no Easter.

I parted ways with the JW once I left Kentucky and never looked back. My grandmother was the most religious one in my family. Once she passed, my mother, my uncle, and my cousin curtailed their participation in the church, eventually resulting in one or two scattered meetings they attended each year, but with none of the same dedication as before.

Since that break, I’ve not been tied to any sort of religion or religious practices. That lack of a relationship with religion wasn’t one I thought about deeply for many years. Now, though, with E, I find myself looking for some sort of spiritual guidance or presence in our lives. Over the last year or so, I’ve had some occasions to be inside different churches, and have encouraged myself to be open to what I see, hear, think, and feel in those places. I don’t even know what I’m listening for: To be welcomed? To feel at home? To feel that I could linger, to stay a while?

Then, there are the holidays, tied with religious meaning (or, at least it seems they originated with religion and then…), or not. I find myself either being completely over the top when it comes to a holiday (Pinterest boards, thinking really hard about the gifts I want to give to E and to others) or at a loss about what to do (i.e., Easter: baskets?! bunnies?!). Birthdays?!

I’ve struck a compromise with myself. The four gifts (something to read, wear, want, need) are a good way to help me think about giving, as well as keeping my spending in check. What has been a source of freedom and delight is figuring out how I want to recognize these holidays with E. We can start our own traditions, learn the religious stories that they are founded on as we go–if we want to. Perhaps that’s the most significant change between my experiences with religion then and now. Then, I went to church because I had to and disliked every part of it. Now, I’m much more interested in the spiritual aspect of religion, of the why of it and of what it contributes to making life feel more lived and worth living.

Who knows is this interest will take us to a brick-and-mortar church or to a more spiritual one that is not contained to physical walls. What I do know is that I’m open to wherever the Universe tells me to go. I’m willing.


4 thoughts on “Traditions #sol16

  1. Thank you for sharing your piece. Yes, this is food for thought. I think sharing the religious stories from various religions’ point of views will be an amazing learning experience. As you noted eloquently at the end, the greater spirit/s will take care of the rest-actually already has/have been taking care of it all!
    Wishing you and E. a beautiful holiday weekend. (Oh, I like how you have agreed to focus on gifts that one can wear, one needs, one reads or wants).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this writing challenge so much not least because I’m learning so much about you (and our other beloved colleagues). How is that I eat lunch with you every day and I never knew that you came from a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses??? (Oh, and the urban league. I still love that tidbit about you.) Your openness to Spirit is so moving. I’ve always loved to attend worship services with friends. So interesting and such a fun way to learn about different traditions. After college, when I lived in Germany for a year, I’d attend different services to take in the language of various services too.

    As I read your slice about creating new traditions with E, I can feel love emanating from your words. So much love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I echo much of what Michelle wrote. JW?! I always found that commitment to eschewing celebration such an interesting interpretation. At the end of the day, that’s what it all is, right? Each group of people interpreting how to have a relationship with the larger universe. You and E can make up your own group. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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