This is a constant question for me both at the grocery store and in life. I’ve been looking inward, outward, upward and to be honest, it sometimes makes me go downward. As in spiraling. I wonder what I’m really supposed to be doing with this fleeting life of mine.
Let me first say that I have it pretty good. My to-do list on life has check marks on some amazing things: home, husband, child, work, no major medical crisis. My glass is truly half full, usually of green tea or red wine. But there’s still a nagging sense of something more that I haven’t quite satiated much less identified.
Author and teacher (and Friar!) Richard Rohr talks of the two halves of life. He uses a container as a metaphor, but I like to pretend it’s a vase because vases are pretty and you can say the word two different ways depending on how elite you feel at any given time. The first half of life (from birth to 40) is about what’s on the outside of that vase. How does it look? What shape is it? What other things look good with it when you put it on display? This is basically the ego. The part of us that’s concerned with how we appear to others.
In the second half of life (age 40-??), you start to ask different questions. What fills me up? What’s inside of me? What’s my purpose beyond sitting here babysitting bouquets? This is where I turn to God for answers.
I wasn’t born into a certain faith. Oh sure, I attended Christmas and Easter services at church, but I never really considered myself a Christian until I got baptized at 32. I don’t think Jesus is the one and only way for everyone. He works for me big time, but I am a lover of faith systems in general, even ones that don’t speak to me. I’m drawn to them because faith makes you question. It asks you to think bigger. It signifies that you and something else have an innate connection that refuses to be known intellectually.
I rather like being a late-to-the-last-supper-party Christian. It means my faith was never force fed. I sought it out and only truly found it when I ironically said, “Oh, what the hell. I’ll try it.”I definitely didn’t want to be a Christian. Too many right-wing weirdos. But the things that are right for you only find you when you surrender. And this was how faith found me. And how faith found me a hot Asian husband. Thank you, Jesus!
But my faith still lacks fortitude. I know this because when I imagine the worst thing happening, which would be my daughter dying, I think I would blame God. I might even renounce God altogether. I almost did back when my little girl was two years old and hospitalized for a time with double pneumonia. I really thought I was going to lose her. It was then that I realized how flimsy my faith was. I felt my back turning (and my middle finger raising) to God for doing this to me. That’s when I knew I needed to examine my faith further, and when I started doing that, my whole life came under spiritual scrutiny.
And that’s where this blog comes from. It comes from me asking questions of myself, God and the occasional Rabbi, atheist or Buddhist monk. If you find yourself asking the question of why you’re here and what you’re supposed to be doing and what role God plays in everything, then welcome. We have a lot to learn together.