You Belong Here: Reflections on Religion and Spirituality

I made it a goal to share more personal writing on the blog this year. So with a little push from some dear friends, I’m sharing this post about religion and spirituality.

I spent most of my life as a firm atheist. Despite growing up in the Jewish tradition, every time I looked inside myself, God didn’t have a place there. Detached logic prevailed. And thus, I knew, with near certainty, that everything must be random, meaningless chaos. And that was okay. In fact, it encouraged me to live my best life for its own sake. And it seemed like enough.

But deep inside me, there was always a subtle sense of something else. A faint whisper of the ability to accept the unknowable. A curiosity about the energies of the worlds.

I know that we all have the power to impact each other, harm each other, care for each other. I saw that by being a human, I have access to powerful emotions, transmitted at a speed that amazes me.

Like when someone speaks to you about the dream that lives inside their heart, and there is a lightness around them that sinks into your chest and makes you listen a little harder. Like when tears come to my eyes, unbidden, when someone stands in front of a room and announces, “You belong here,” and they really mean it.

So as I emerged more solidly into adulthood, I told myself I was a Humanist. And even though I knew that life was still random and hard, I decided to live my best life for the sake of others. And for this beautiful, terrifying world.

In the past year or so, that whisper, that connection, that seeking has grown. I’ve started to notice, to believe, that our lives have a shape and trajectory. There are openings and closings. Perhaps even guiding forces.

That rather than life being chaotic and meaningless, we may each have a purpose. A calling.

Or even if we don’t, it is more fulfilling to live as if we do.

I suddenly realized that I don’t know anything.

But I am listening.

And I suppose that makes me spiritual.

This is an unfolding thing inside myself. Doubt still lives here. (I still fear that believing I have a purpose makes me magnificently vain.) But I continue to move in that direction because it feels right.

I suspect the journey is, in itself, all the proof I’m going to get.

And perhaps it’s all the proof I need.

If you’re inclined to share, I’d love to hear about your journey with religion, spirituality, or lack thereof, in the comments.

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