Sunday, September 14, 2008

Finding a Spiritual "Church"

Hail and greetings, gentle readers...
As many know, we have been searching for a "church;" a place of spiritual rest and encouragement. Why is it that these searches require so much time and effort? One would think that we could look at churches and know we would find comfort there. But it is not always so.
Amazingly, the buildings don't give hints at all. One must visit, get to know the people, and even more importantly, get to know the heart of the pastor. I've met so many who hang the seminary degrees on their office walls and yet have no heart for the people under their care. I think many "burn out" and stop giving. Let's be honest, if a pastor only gives and does not learn to rest and receive, pastoring becomes a burden rather than a joy.
In our search, we never expected to be drawn to Science of Mind (or Religious Science). No, these are not the folks who don't believe in doctors. These are people who believe that there is a consciousness, energy, out there that is far beyond our simple existence. To see all as energy, consciousness, and experience our place in the greater scheme of things is difficult for me. I'm so conditioned to see just the physical and mental. To "plug into" the spiritual and see it for the vast expanse that it is is beyond my simple understanding of Spirit.
But, here we are. We have been visiting a local Religious Science "church" and have found it to be enlightening and restful for our souls. The meditation is genuine and brings a peace I've not found in other churches. The pastor has a deep understanding of Spirit and a wonderful way of sharing it intimately with the congregation. And the congregation seems open and honest.
So how do I take my religious background and meld it into this new philosophy? I haven't a clue...yet. I do know that when I leave, my spirit, mind, body and heart are refreshed. I've not felt that refreshing in many, many years. And, even though Religious Science has its own way of looking at spirituality through a particular philosophy, the church seems to embrace all who walk a spiritual path.
So maybe...just maybe...we've found a place to call our own. Maybe this is the place we've been looking for; a place we can serve and be served. Time will tell. In the meantime, we bow our heads and contemplate the Spirit and seek guidance on this wonderful path.
What path are you on? Where has it led you so far? And where do you see yourself going from here? Is there a fork in that spiritual road that calls to your heart to try something new? And if it does, are you interested enough to take a chance and step outside your comfort zone? Many questions. Many answers. Where are you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

My friends,
I am relieved and grateful to be able to share with you a blessing received. As many of you wonderful readers know, my partner and I have walked a difficult path over the past several years: her deployment, Katrina, relocating, struggling to find jobs that will meet our needs, etc.
In the aftermath of her deployment to Iraq, my precious partner has suffered terribly with PTSD, panic attacks and agorophobia, as well as memory loss. It has been hard for her to find work she can do without those nightmarish disabilities causing severe problems. I'll grant, it has been difficult for both of us. And I admit to losing faith a few times along the way.
But we received wonderful news today. She received a check from the Veterans Administration for prescriptions based on her PTSD, etc. This means that those illnesses have been service-connected backdated to March, 2004. And that means that our long walk through the VA maze may be coming to a close. Over four years to give her the benefits for which she worked and fought is ridiculous to me. But we are more than relieved as this could not have come at a more critical time.
We were struggling today with how we would meet rent, utilities, loans, etc. There just didn't seem to be a friendly light at the end of the tunnel. We have found ourselves waiting for that light with apprehension of the oncoming train. But, I cannot stress enough how much of a weight is being lifted from our shoulders. I actually felt happy this afternoon. It's been a LONG time since I've relaxed enough to let that feeling back in.
What I've learned is that when we are at our weakest point (and this afternoon I reached my weakest point), the Goddess comes through with what we need. As I sought wisdom this afternoon, I cried out for relief. I told Goddess all of my fears and failures. I told Her of my desire to have peace; to live in peace. I didn't seek wealth, just an ability to pay bills and cover those "things" that happen to us in every day life; car repairs, doctor bills, veterinary care. We all have one of those lists.
I can't say that I'm a "believe it and receive it" type. The whole idea of seeking prosperity at the hands of a God or Goddess is foreign to me. But I can relate to the human condition of needs. We all have them. Food. Clothing. Shelter. We want to be able to reach beyond the stress to the finances we must have to live. Anything over and above that, to me, is to be used to help others. We weren't made to be hoarders of things, people, animals.
So if we receive blessings, we are to share them. As my partner and I rode around town today picking up the things we needed, we talked at length about who we needed to share the blessing with. Of course, our church is one place. We are focusing on unexpected income. And this blessing certainly qualifies. Therefore, we know we want to bless our church. There is a website and ministry that are dear to our hearts. They reach millions of people with the good word that those people are accepted and not rejected by God/Goddess. They will most definitely be blessed as we have been blessed. Another ministry has supported our ministry and they are in need of physical help with their building. They certainly will be blessed as we've been blessed.
I guess the long and short of this post is this: We are beyond thrilled and relieved that the light at the end of the tunnel is near. We are honored to be able to share this blessing with others; to pay it forward. And I think all of us, were we to subscribe to the idea of sharing the blessing, would find a whole lot more blessings in our lives.
Thanks to all who have prayed with and for us. Thanks to you who have provided us food, clothing, shelter, and gifts of money to pay bills. And great thanks to Goddess who provides for all of our needs--when we need it most!