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Jun 22

Spiritual Paths

I’m…. not easy to classify when it comes to spiritual belief.  Which I’m actually pretty happy about, I think that it’s better to have your own personal belief system as opposed to blindly following someone else’s.  My mother was Catholic when I was born, and I was a practicing Catholic until probably right around the time when my eleven year old cousin was diagnosed with liver cancer.  After that, I sort of drifted thru goddess worship, straight up Wicca, a little paganism, I explored tarot and have had more than my share of psychic readings.  I looked into Reiki, Axiotonal healing and am fluent in lots of alternative health treatments.  I was pretty convinced that I knew what was going on in the universe, was very clear on how I thought everything worked… and then had the rug pulled out from under me when I miscarried my twins.

It was a very unplanned pregnancy, but one that was so incredibly wanted.  And the loss at ten and eleven weeks of both babies was devastating to me.  I literally became a different person.  I no longer knew that the universe was a benovolent place, I was no longer even a little bit sure that everything happened for a reason.  I felt lost and alone and more scared than I had ever been.

It was then that I got pregnant with Jessica, and started to build a life with an observant Jewish man.  Judaism isn’t a stretch for me, theologically.  It’s based on the premise that there is one G-d, neither male nor female.  That humanity and G-d are in a partnership, and it’s our obligation to make the world a better place.  That Jews are commanded to perform mitzvahs (which truly doesn’t have an English translations – because it’s more than just good deeds, it’s more than charity, it’s more than lovingkindness – the best translation I can come up with is that it’s actions (not thoughts, but actual actions) that make the world a better place).  Jews are commanded to appreciate and value the world around us, there’s literally a blessing to be said for just about everything you do during the day.  It’s a very joyous, loving faith, but also one that demands a certain level of commitment from believers.  I don’t get to just sit back and let the world swirl around me, as a Jewish woman, my obligation is to make it a better place.

But I’m finding, that almost ten years after the miscarriage, eight years after becoming a mother, and three years after formally converting to Judaism, that’s there’s still this element of spiritual questioning that I have.  I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was the right decision to convert to Judaism, Jewish theology is so closely aligned with my own personal belief systems, and I believe profoundly in giving my children a strong spiritual base from which to explore their own beliefs.  Jewish culture, or at least Conservative Jewish culture, is still confusing to me.  I feel like an outsider at the synagogue.  While everyone there is very nice and kind, and my children are beloved there, I still feel…. a little outside of it all.

Maybe this is just a function of me.  Maybe that’s a part of my personality and anytime there’s a big group thing I tend to feel a little removed.  Maybe it’s worth exploring other synagogues in the area, see if I can find one that’s a little more… welcoming, respectful of all paths.  Maybe I need to re-start my own spiritual quest, find my own answers.  I don’t know.  I find, as my children get older, I feel a need to instill some part of my own traditions in their lives.  To show them what they’ve got from my side of the family – it’s not just Judaism, it’s Judaism and this whole other world where their grandmother can divert storms and arrange for parking spots at the mall.

I don’t have any of the answers anymore.  I don’t know anything for sure.  But I know that there’s a whole universe out there… and trying to understand it, trying to find our own higher purpose, is an eminently worthy goal.

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