I developed a new relationship with God, and it took me a while to trust this was acceptable.
As a young girl, I would enter synagogue, feeling a distinctive buzz in my sensory system as I walked along the cool, marble floor—more overpowering in English winter.
I still have this feeling, although 2017 was the last time I attended.
As I came to the time that’s considered a Jewish adult, 13, the gap between religion and I began to expand and contract. I assume it was because I saw it was about stepping into this moment I could be adult-minded and was growing older. I had the choice to connect.
Having a ceremony, known as a Bat Mitzvah, was something I was against, so I said no—to all of it. As much with anything in my life, I needed to feel an array of options around me to find comfort and to calm my inner rebellion. To honour my choice was not only about honouring myself, but it was honouring the people around me. It was the community, the Rabbi, and I was overly stimulated whilst being inside this powerful place of worship.
With this gap I had created, that was little by little expanding, I felt more comfortable, and needn’t contract into what felt like a shell. I haven’t looked to date anyone within my faith or looked to have friends of my faith; it was not of importance for me. The familial bond that I searched for, although filled with love, was about knowing I could still encompass that anywhere I roamed or with anyone I met along my way.
With this, I learnt to come back home to myself.
Life can also be about keeping ourselves open, not restricting ourselves when we say no to what may feel right in that moment in time. It is about trusting ourselves, knowing that even if we may feel lonely, there are always people who can love us on the other side of that loneliness.
There are multifaceted ways faith can shine into all of our lives, and, in my experience, it was acknowledging the glow of my grandfather’s stained glass window. The colours will still shine down regardless if I attend it weekly or choose not to.
Synagogue brought me a familial nurturing, a particular bond that I never had elsewhere.
I found a different sense of God than what was sprinkled, and I learnt to not judge myself for that.
I knew it was in the space before my pen hit the paper.
It was the gathered tears in the moments that moved me after hearing a relatable story.
It was finding silence in loud foreign lands.
It was watching me break free from old cages of my past—seeing the remnants on the trails behind me.
Seeing my muscles strengthen to make changes in myself
Deepen my power to make the change in those around me.
The need to replay a song to feel the chill down my body again.
It is knowing the feeling of true, unconditional love.
My God is the infinite power to lift myself because only I have known that feeling of endurance.
I came to the understanding that, as I matured, so would the identity I came to know, as life is nonlinear. I wished to be fluid, and with this, the more I evolved. An imperative and large part of adapting toward my self-development, or whatever label one would like to call it, was to coexist with this fluidity. I knew there was no use clenching to the ties of any of which did not serve me. For me, my rigid mindset toward God was one of them. Remaining fluid, grateful, and accepting that my mindset about God can too evolve, just as I embarked on my own path.
So, I rest assured in the knowing that rather than being on my ever-growing, ever-changing pursuit of happiness, I was still, in fact, more in the pursuit of a deeper meaning. I did not need to go anywhere else to look for it. I looked backward, and perhaps, the life around me was filled with prayers and manifestations of all that could make me “happy.”
My thought process was that if I continued to be on a search for a fix of this one fluctuating feeling, one of “happiness,” which was not offering me true endurance, I would be dissatisfied. “Happiness” was an unrealistic expectation, yet “meaning” did not stem from my insecure coercion. Meaning was in with me for the long haul.
I looked to God for answers. I looked to spirituality for answers. I looked for responses from both. In fact, there was no stability within all I was truly searching for, regardless of the experiences I had gone through.
I do not ever discard my search because of the fluidity that comes with evolution. I am not afraid of change. Those around me still are traditional in their beliefs; I have been on both sides of the spectrum, and for now, feel great comfort.
Will it change?
Most likely, but I am okay with that.
I have learnt to stop judging my beliefs, where I am, and who I have become. Fluidity is part of the process of life. I can unveil a new part of myself next week.
Life is about learning, exploring, and allowing ourselves to be open to experiences. I truly hope you find what works for you too.