“This, then, is salvation: When we marvel at the beauty of created things and praise the beautiful providence of their Creator.”
– Meister Eckhart
Throughout my life I’ve explored a few different religious traditions and spiritual teachings. My high-school best friend was from India and her family was Hindu, a fascinating faith overflowing with many gods. In college I went to extremes, from getting an audit by campus Scientologists to joining my born-again Christian boyfriend’s church (pretty glad I didn’t marry him now). And as an adult, I was introduced to and largely embraced Buddhism.
I don’t claim to have ever fully committed to one faith or another. None of them ever seemed to fit me (or me, them), entirely. I was always more curious, I think, than interested in finding out who was “right” or in being saved.
From all of my explorations I took many interesting ideas and perspectives on spirituality. But the one I learned for myself that I believe to this day, is that salvation isn’t so much out there as it is inside me.
Losing my parents, particularly my mother, at a young age was a real test of my spiritual strength. I lost not only them, but other family relationships fell apart in the aftermath, too. My home was gone, sold. I lost the main navigation points of my life, the ports (troubled as they sometimes were themselves) I could always turn to in the worst of storms.
And I’ve lost other family since, treasured relationships, people I thought I would be with forever. Given them up or been rejected myself sometimes, too. I’ve been divorced and moved across the country, lost beloved pets, those sources of unconditional love.
With all those losses there was always something good that arrived, too, though it took me awhile to see it sometimes. But it was there for the taking, nonetheless. I realized I just had to pick myself up and meet it halfway for my healing to begin.
Nowadays I have made my own faith. I think of it as a natural one, one that has evolved and changed and come into it’s own form, one inspired by the world outside but arising mainly from within. When I read the quote above by Meister Eckhart (a German theologian, philosopher and mystic), it seemed to sum up my spiritual feelings perfectly. That even with all the loss and tragedy that exists, there are still miracles and beauty every day. But we have to look (really hard sometimes) to see them.
Yes, there are moments when I feel like the world is a mess (i.e., our current political arena). But where I so often see the best of life is in my friends, my relationships, my work, and in the small corner of the world I call home. It’s day to day, in the big picture as well as the small one.
To me, life, creation is miracle enough. I don’t need saints with bleeding palms or to see the face of Jesus on an ancient shroud. The fact that our world, our universe exists at all and that I get to wake up every day as a part of it is amazing. I wish other people could see the same. Whoever or whatever force created it all, I’m truly humbled and grateful. And, I hope, saved in my own fashion.
I've never really liked labels: I am this, I am that... But in the interest of introducing myself to the world, I can say that I am many things: nurse, writer, photographer, poet, painter, gardener, friend, armchair philosopher, counselor, nature lover, real-estate aficionado, movie buff, sometime yogi, and aspiring world-traveler. I think that's a pretty good list... for now. I want to become a bigger part of the vital, creative force I feel deeply at work in the world and connect with other people who want to do the same.