On Saturday night, I hung out with my Back on My Feet crew and went to see a play at a church in South Philly. It was to support one of our members from Team Point Breeze since it was his church.
As far as being the only Jew in church, this wasn’t my first rodeo 🙂 I’ve actually taken communion before!
So, I gladly accepted the invite.
The story was about a couple and their trials, tribulations, temptations, and rise and fall from grace. They both eventually wound up back in the church after going astray, including committing adultery, selling and doing drugs, etc.
The lessons that I learned were interesting. I have a completely different perspective on things at this point in my life.
If this were me before, I would simply dismiss it as a bunch of bunk. People believing in an invisible man in the sky was always foreign to me. I would never tell anyone to not be religious; I just didn’t want to do it myself because it didn’t make any sense to me.
Now, I’m still not religious, but I behave as if I am.
They talked about living in the light and getting out of the darkness. They talked about letting go and letting love in through God and Jesus Christ. They talked about opening up your heart and soul.
I’ve done all those things. I’ve lived in the darkness before, and due to my experiences over the past two years, I have managed to find a path forward to propel myself into the light.
I have let go and opened my heart and soul. There are times where I feel an absolute radiant love and warmth towards myself and everybody else. I live my life in service of others.
I serve my coworkers, my Back on My Feet people, my family and friends, and even strangers when the situation calls for it. I feed myself and take care of myself so that I can serve others.
I’ve realized that my success comes from helping other people succeed. So, I live a life of service with an open soul and love in my heart. Living this way gives me life.
I’m pretty sure this is the basic concept of all major world religions. This way of living is just packaged up in different ways, but the principles are the same. Whether you’re Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Confucian, Shinto, Frisbeeterianist, spiritual, or nothing at all, it’s all the same.
My own practice is probably closer to Buddhist than anything else, though I strongly identify with the Jewish identity and set of ethics that I was raised with. Which is the same set of ethics that the major religions espouse. Do unto others, the rest is commentary.
So, I left the play that night with a nice taste in my mouth knowing that the church-goers that I shared the room with are fundamentally the same as I am.
The only thing I didn’t like was when the lead female’s family successfully prayed for a miracle, and suddenly her HIV status became negative when she was previously on death’s door. They were praying incredibly hard and frequently, and their prayers were answered.
I realize that miracles can happen. Anything can happen, because the amount of what’s possible is far beyond our understanding.
I remember taking care of my father in hospice for three weeks before he died. Many people around me were praying for a miracle for him; praying hard, too. I know it gave them comfort, and I know they were trying to give me comfort.
I just didn’t think there was anything to pray for, because all I saw was nature taking its course. It was Dad’s time.
My meditation training tells me that stress is primarily caused by resistance to what is. Praying hard for some sort of divine intervention to me is resistance to what is.
There was always a chance that Dad could’ve pulled out of it, but that would’ve been nature’s decision, not mine.
I decided not to resist what was, and instead just went with the flow. It made it infinitely easier for me to take care of him, administer morphine so he could be more comfortable among other things, and give Ma the support that she needed.
I needed every ounce of strength, calm, and sense of humor I could muster. I’m glad I didn’t resist what was.