This week, my dear blogger buddy Allen T. St. Clair from The Midnight Goose has graciously provided a guest post about his experiences with spirituality. Allen is a hilarious blogger, the author of the awesome paranormal mystery series MKPI Odd Case Files, and just an all-around awesome human being. In addition to his blog, you can find him sporadically on Facebook and read his ranting on Twitter. If you’re not following him, you should be. Trust me, there is never a dull moment when the goose flies at midnight!
My mom’s family were devout Methodists and my dad’s family were devout drinkers. My mom’s people believed that spiritual needs could be tended to with food—Methodists, amirite? And my dad’s side believed that if the whiskey you drank Saturday night was strong enough, you probably already did your praying and could skip church Sunday morning.
Both sides of the family observed Christmas and we attempted Easter every other year or so…but for the most part, none of us were incredibly devout folks. Except to the food and drink, of course. My maternal grandmother had a few Precious Moments™ statuettes and a Bible buried in a cabinet somewhere, so I guess there was a little effort made. Sporadically.
The best my mother could tell me when I was growing up was that our family believed that we should always be kind to ourselves, to others, and do what was right. We weren’t observant, however.
I was basically left to my own devices when it came to figuring out God and everything that came with beliefs, faith, and spirituality. And, if you don’t know this about me, if I’m left to my own devices with, well, anything, there’s going to be a few bumps. Possibly a shoe thrown from a moving vehicle while a drunken soon-to-be-bride is having a meltdown in the backseat. But…that’s another story. And I probably need to confer with my lawyers first before telling it.
Anyhoozles, I never felt at home in church. They were always lovely—I mean, stained glass: pretty. But the few times I went involved listening to a thunderfuck (see: “gaggle-slash-cluster-fuck) of white folk singing solemnly about violence and sin, my grandmother threatening to punch me in the face, and a lot of strangers trying to hug me. I’m a “don’t get in my personal bubble” type fella.
Ultimately, I ended up going to a Methodist church in my early teens, joining the youth fellowship—then realizing that none of the other teens knew how to make a decent Martini and having to peace out of that shit. I mean, none of them even smoked cigarettes, so how the hell was I supposed to enjoy sleep away camp if absolutely no one is holding? I remember asking a tentmate if he had anything to drink and having a Coca-Cola shoved in my face. Okay. So, we got mixers…but where’s the rum? I was fourteen and he was sixteen. I was obviously dealing with a late bloomer. To answer your obvious question, my request for a tent transfer was met with a sermon about loving thy tentmate. I ain’t got time for all that, I’m starting to get the DTs. Seriously. Where’s the bar, Pastor?
To answer another question, my time at camp lasted one night. I was gone when the sun came up.
Ahem. This has gone off the rails.
So, my “come to Jesus” journey was a lengthy process that A&E probably would have been interested in making into a documentary if they were looking to bleep out every other word I said. The journey didn’t end at the feet of Jesus, either. Luckily, it didn’t end at the Betty Ford Clinic, either. Though, I probably would’ve met more like-minded individuals at Aunt Betty’s 30-Day Retreat.
Ultimately, after dipping my toes in everything from Christianity to Paganism to a brief (and impatient) introduction to Buddhism, I decided that religion just wasn’t for me. Christianity (for me) was too much fire and brimstone. Paganism was a little too passive and hippie. And Buddhism required way too much patience and understanding on my part—and they don’t really care for the drinkers, ya’ feel me? I mean, I’m a big fan of God—she’s my favorite celestial being. Love her work—even if she’s probably side-eyeing me on the daily.
But I realized that spirituality and a person’s relationship with God really has nothing to do with the building you’re in when having your “let’s have a talk” time with God. God hears you wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, or over whatever music you’re singing while celebrating your faith. And my version of God believes in reverence, but also has a sense of humor—so a traditional church and religion is not really made for my kind. We’re not as rare as one might think.
So, to wrap up this long stream of word diarrhea, I guess what I’m saying is that, to me, spirituality is settling into your beliefs, living by them, and having faith. Faith in God’s existence, faith in God’s ability to deal with you as you are, as you struggle to be who you are meant to be, to give you a kick in the ass when you stumble, and to smile down mercifully on you when you do well. When you’re kind to yourself, to others, and do good, God is there without question. Even when you stumble, God may be shaking her head, but she’s still there, too. Probably with a Martini in hand. No building or structured way of worshipping can change that. Faith for faith’s sake is good enough.
A big, heartfelt thank you to Allen for taking the time to write something up for me! It always pays to have friends who will do your work for you! 😉 Once again, you can find Allen at The Midnight Goose, on Twitter, and on Facebook.
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