I went to a funeral on Monday. The only time I go to church is for weddings and funerals. I'm not a church lady. I don't feel more connected to the divine through rituals or stained glass windows or huge statues of Jesus hanging from a cross. I'm not moved by the music or the chants or the sacrament. I've explored various and sundry faiths and practices. None of them resonate for me. I make no judgment if it resonates for you, truly.
I feel closer to the divine when I'm in nature and marveling at unfathomable wonders. I feel connected to the source when I stare at the stars and realize how small I am and how insignificant my life is in the face of everything that surrounds it. I am humbled by every day magic. My god/dess is a verb, the act of unconditional love. I am the instrument, occasionally playing in tune and often slightly off key, but through practice the song keeps improving. I understand the power of myth and ritual, but I am not called to it nor bound by it.
My mother often says, "This life is but a split second in eternity."
Puts things in perspective.
As I stood in the church, and then sat, and then stood, and then sat again, I felt nothing. Yet, I could see that other people found comfort in the rituals and the words of the priest. This made me happy. If it gives them hope and helps them negotiate sorrow and loss, so be it. People are afraid of death, and faith helps make death seem less permanent and therefore less scary. I get that. We don't want the people we love to just cease existing. I don't want that, either. Religion has not solved that conundrum for me, though physics has offered some solace. Sometimes they even converge.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
We are made of the stuff of stars and to that stuff we will return again and again and again.
There's comfort in that revelation.
I don't know what happens to our consciousness when we die. Some people feel certain that there is a heaven and a hell and our souls, after death, spend an eternity in one or the other. I think both can be found right here, on this plane. I don't believe in some eternal resting place where we are rewarded or punished. Reincarnation makes more sense to me, but that is just another theory and another way to avoid confronting the unknown. Maybe this is all there is. Or maybe physics is right, time is not linear and there are infinite versions of this happening simultaneously. Maybe death and life and everything that we experience and believe to be real are illusions.
I don't know.
No one knows.
As time passes, I am finding myself less concerned with figuring it out. I don't need affirmation or confirmation. I'm just putting one foot in front of the other as I seek the compassionate heart. I believe that love is real. Love endures. Love transcends. The rest is inconsequential. I will love as much as possible for as long as I can and when I am no longer able, I will hope that the love I have shared keeps resonating on a higher frequency.
I went to a funeral on Monday. The woman who died left a lot of love behind. I could feel it filling the church and spilling out as we left. None of the rituals or chants or trappings resonated for me. Her love, however, did.
And I suppose that's my faith and the vast and mysterious universe to which we all return is my church.