April 29, 2009
My mother’s yearning for spirituality in her life was equalled only by her fear of it. Astrology was probably the most regularly embraced mysticism in the home I grew up in. There is a part of me that can really jive with the idea that our bodies are somehow influenced by the magnetism of other planets. And there is a part of me that considers it to be complete baloney. My mom tried to pretend she thought it was baloney, but justified her neurosis too often for that to be completely genuine. “What can you expect when a Pisces and a Virgo live together?” was not an uncommon response to our differences. Her inability to embrace reality and my constant exasperation with her because of it might have been a more authentic accounting of our non-simpatico encounters than my piscean nature.
But, whatever. The point is aside from books on personality matrixes and other planets, there wasn’t a lot of spiritual grounding in my upbringing. Sunday mornings were housecleaning day. God rested, we worked. And I craved spiritual input like a thirsty daughter in the desert. As an 8 year old visiting my uncle’s baptist church I almost raced to the front when they called us in for salvation. I begged friends and family to take me to their churches– catholic, protestant, jehovah’s witness– my early exposure was all over the christian map. It doesn’t really surprise me that when I finally had the chance to be part of a religious community, I bought in 100%.
My feelings about life were so big they often felt like they would push my skin off my bones. God was about the only thing I could imagine that would release that pressure. And the problems of the world seemed unsolvable. Fear. Greed. Hate. Wars. I read the paper as a young teen and I felt so overwhelmed by all the horror. It seemed like we needed a god to get things fixed up. I want to judge myself– lazy– but I really can’t because I remember how much I wanted the world to be better than it was. And I didn’t believe in my power to change anything.