When I was in Catholic School as a child, grade three or so we learned about the prodigal son.
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
That was always my favorite story. Mainly because it meant that no matter what a child did God would always love them.
Here’s the thing though. The next year I had a Priest talk to my fourth grade class about sex. I raised my hand calmly and asked him “What happens if a girl isn’t given a choice?” Not really understanding my question (I hope) I was told that girl would still go to hell because sex was a sin.
I had just been molested a few days prior. I didn’t tell anyone. I actually waited until I was thirteen to tell anyone. I honestly cannot even remember how old I was in grades two-four. I have tried but all I remember is that those years I went from truly loving and enjoying my religion to being absolutely terrified of God and all the Father’s claimed he stood for. I had been scarred, for life.
I searched out other religions, I began practicing WitchCraft, mostly and mainly because it allowed me to still have faith in a higher power without being afraid of going to hell if I so much as let loose a fart. Sounds funny right? Being afraid to go to hell for farting? Except that I spent the first sixteen years totally and utterly petrified I was going to hell, no matter what I did.
Then I read Practical Magic.
“Being afraid of the next life is no way to live this life”
Studying Witch Craft allowed me to accept that life would throw me challenges and tests without the fear of ultimate fire and brimstone after death. It also opened my heart and my mind to the idea of balance, and light and dark. I learned that in order to accept the good things into our lives, we have to learn to live with the dark. Without one there cannot be the other. Heaven = Hell. Get it?
Some of you may have heard about my friend Bree Smasslet. She had been fighting cancer since she was sixteen years old. It wasn’t something I knew, not until it was too late.
You see when I was twenty-three I was involved with a scary abusive man. I lost a child and I lost my soul. I wasn’t a very good friend to Bree.
I saw her last summer, and she told me she had cancer. I was in a hurry so I promised to be in touch, but…by the time I reached out it was too late. She was dying. She had been married, and she was also pregnant.
As long as I live I have never in my life nor will I ever pray for anything more than I prayed for her to meet her unborn son. Unfortunately a few days before he was born her husband died, then her baby came…it was a miracle. A real life genuine given by God Miracle.
Still I was angry with God. I was angry at all the things I had suffered. I was angry that I grew up with an abusive father, I was angry that time and time again I’d been abused molested raped and beaten by men who claimed to love me.
I was angry that someone so young and beautiful finally found the man of her dreams and a baby to boot only to lose one and have to leave the other.
I was so utterly angry.
Yesterday I learned my little brother was in Fort Mac, the very same place that is currently on fire. When I was watching the video of all the evacuee’s I realized they were literally driving through fire and brimstone. They were driving through hell, and all of them were coming out on the other side with their lives intact.
Yes they have lost their homes, and cars, and some even pets. Human lives however thousands of them have been saved by volunteers and staff who have flown in from all across Canada to help.
I can’t help when I think of Fort Mac, but to think of Katrina and how different these two situations have been handled. In an earlier post this week I said I wasn’t so proud of my country. I wasn’t so proud because I was so tired of seeing Canadian born men and women talk about Syrians and Muslims as if they are the terrorists causing so much darkness in our world.
I was so tired of seeing them dismiss these amazing beautiful scared people with no where to go. I was angry at seeing so many “Canadians” tell these Muslims and Syrians to go home. The message was clear.
“We don’t care if you are running for your lives, we don’t care if you are dying, being raped starved, beaten and murdered, you are not welcome here”
Last night for some reason that I will never be able to explain I got into a cab and randomly made the sign of the cross. I don’t know why, I think I was thinking about Fort Mac, but I can’t really be sure. I just know I had not done that since I was in fourth grade.
Since the day I left the church.
If you’ve read my writings you know that I take my shower time very seriously. Last night was no exception.
Last night I took my shower, put on some soft meditative music and started thinking about where I was this time last year.
This time last year I was seeing (yet another) a abusive man. He put my head into a wall, purely because he wanted to hurt me. His “sister’ a friend who’s older sister he used to date took his side. Even though this man never denied what he did to me, it ended my friendship with someone I’d known for more than twelve years.
This year I am writing again – I am bringing people into my life again. I am reaching out. I am not so angry any more. I am finding peace in my heart again.
In fact I found that I still had a whole ton of love for this amazing power that I couldn’t see or touch or see or hold. When I look back on my life and all the things I’ve seen and done I realize that God is in a million tiny inconsequential moments that make up my life.
Part of me wondered what this meant for my future as a spiritual person. I mean I have six inches of witch tatted on my arm.
I remembered one of the most important conversations I’ve ever had.
Me: “You’re God and I don’t get a long so well so we don’t talk much.”
Him: “My God is your God. He’s just chosen to show himself to you in a way you are willing to accept.”
See last night I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. There is no law in my morality that says I cannot believe in the God and the Goddess.
That the two are completely mutually exclusive. The ten commandments, the laws of Sin were written by men, but the relationship that I have with my God is deeply personal.
It is not for anyone else to judge or comment on. The conversations I have with my God/dess are between me and him and her, no one else is privy to these thoughts and prayers. It’s no one else’s business’ and for the first time in nearly 24 years, I am finally free of letting anyone else decide what God means to me.
I wanted to come and tell you guys all about this and something kept holding me back from writing it all out. Then I realized, it was because God had another miracle to show me.
The miracle of human beings stepping up for one another – the human spirit is not entirely breakable. Yes we make mistakes, and we are not perfect, we fuck up in pretty monumental ways – like for instance making Trump the GOP nominee, but we also love in pretty phenomenal ways.
The fact that so many Canadian people told an entire Religious group and an entire Race they were not welcome in this country is deplorable. The fact that these same people who are stepping up today to help their fellow Canadians in need doing whatever they can – in some cases offering their own clothing and furniture, money they don’t really have to give…This is my country.
This is the human spirit at work. This is the God I remember as a child, at work. Forgiving and loving and beautiful.
Right now I am crying as I write this, thinking of Bre and her beautiful son Sal. I wish that I had taken just a few minutes to buy her a cup of coffee and hug her and tell her I loved her before it was too late, but I didn’t. I will live with that regret for the rest of my life.
I also know however that somewhere out there she’s looking over us all reminding us to smarten up when we need to and hugging us when we need it, and yelling at us when we do stupid shit. I found my God again.
I found my God and I found within myself a deep profound understanding that I had to go through everything I’ve gone through in order to truly appriciate the fact that my mother raised a strong daughter with high morals. I spent an entire life time thinking God was punishing me, realizing that out of fear I was punishing myself.
God and I have a lot of time to make up for – I probably still won’t go to church. I probably won’t stop praying outside with a circle of fire and my elemental symbols nearby, I’ve come too far as a Witch to give that up.
Honestly I don’t know what this means for my religious and spiritual journey, but I have decided to accept this journey as it comes.
I accept God. I accept the Goddess, the light the dark – the pain and the hurt and the love and the joy. I accept it all as part of an amazing universal human experience and no matter what anyone says or thinks, it is my journey and I don’t need to live my life to please others any more. I can live for myself and My God and my Goddess as We see fit.
God is not in a book. He is not on a Cross. He is not in a symbol or in a picture. He and She. They are in my heart. My God is not your God. Your God is not my God and that’s okay.
That is a truly freeing feeling.
I dedicate this post to Andy and to Bre and I miss you both terribly. I am so sorry that in my own pain I couldn’t be there to help you through yours but know I love you, You are part of the reason I am the way I am today and I wouldn’t be here without you both.
To anyone reading this I hope you hug your loved ones a little closer tonight. Remind your friends they matter. I am so lucky that I have so many wonderful people that are willing to look past the last ten years, waiting until I was ready to let them back in. Thank you.
With all my love Blessed be And Amen,