All of my life, I have heard countless people speak of the spiritual. Gods, ghosts, nature, energies– the whole nine yards, if you don’t mind the cliche. I was raised a Christian, and I was converted by my parents from Episcopalian to Baptist, and converted by myself to “curious.”
For Mom, the woman who adopted and raised me, she found her center with the Christian God, and for a long time, she meditated every morning with prayer and her bible. She only stopped when it came time to support her children monetarily after Dad moved out to get a job in another state. She remained deeply religious. She always spoke of how God would provide. Her faith was always strong.
Her faith, although shared by me in my youth, was not mine as I grew older and began to listen.
I didn’t want the stories the preachers told. As time went on, I found that I liked none, and then I rediscovered the music. Music has always been fun for me, and even though the lyrics no longer speak to me, the melodies and the sounds that come from my mouth as I still sing along at the holiday church gatherings bring me comfort and remind me of the good times from my childhood.
Dad’s spirituality has always been very loose, in my eyes. He believes in the same god as Mom, but he doesn’t gush about it. He doesn’t always act like a Christian, either. He was raised Catholic, and by their laws, he sinned by marrying my mom, and then by converting into a Protestant. He’s full of faults, but he’s only human, and I don’t believe he feels strongly spiritual at all.
I take after him, although there are some exceptions.
My biological mother is as different from them as can be. She is a pagan of some flavor, and has a very open mind. She gave my best friend and I our first tarot decks, and gave me the rune stones that inspired my curiosity about my own spirituality. She let me copy a spell from her black book, and I chose a set of instructions to help me learn how to leave my body for short periods of time. She urged me to research, and I did.
I found that I enjoyed dabbling in paganism, and learning about how different it was from how I was raised, but that I lacked the urge to go in-depth.
Over the course of four years, I tried to learn about ghosts, energies, and spirits. People told me I was strong, but I told them I couldn’t feel or see a thing. I coined the term “blockhead” for myself, and tried to learn a few tricks while I was at it, but I never truly felt like it was for me, even when others claimed I was some kind of focus for the unworldly.
I tried to search the internet for help. I wanted to feel the same way that others described when they mentioned meditation, peace of mind, serenity– I wanted that for my own chaotic life. I needed it, but nothing I found fit who I was.
Finally, I gave up on my research and declared myself an atheist. There was nothing for a person like me, I was certain. Instead of seeking help from those close to me, I went inward and pretended that I had been on a wild goose chase.
There were no songs in my heart, save when I was happy and cheerful. My emotions ruled me in ways I couldn’t control, and only understood after I did something harmful to others. I once threw Mom out of a chair because she was shutting down a computer because I was being a little shit head and not cleaning out the litterboxes. My best friend accidentally hit me, and it didn’t even hurt, but she told me my eyes turned red when I hit her back. I have beaten two foster children with cleaning implements– a vacuum and a broom– for talking to me with annoying voices.
Granted, I don’t regret hitting the foster children. I do regret hitting my best friend and throwing my mom– the woman who raised me from an infant– out of a chair and onto the floor.
One day, I heard rain outside while I was upstairs for some reason I can’t remember. It sounded heavy, and there was water by our front door– not usual, given our leaky house. Strangely, I don’t remember walking through the water, only that I went outside.
It felt like the rain washed something just under the surface into the ground. The rain was cold, and drenched me entirely. I forced myself to look upwards at the sky and closed my eyes. My anger was gone, and it felt like I was being cleaned more thoroughly than ever in my life, even despite my hairy body and greasy hair. Water dripped between the strands. It carved trails on my face, and it soaked my shirt.
It felt right, and I spread my arms out.
All was right. I went inside and grabbed the biggest towel from the linen closet, and just sat, wrapped in it for warmth as I let myself exist in a moment of calm.
I thought nothing of it for a long time, until the next rainstorm. I darted out into that, right past my very confused mom, and played in a torrent caused by too many leaves in the gutter above our front porch. Again, I needed a towel, and felt incredibly calm and happy afterwards.
Already, I noticed the pattern, and eagerly raced out into the rain each time I heard or saw it. Light rains did nothing– only medium to heavy rains had the calming effect on me.
This most recent time– an hour ago, actually– I noticed that when I went out to seek that calm, and I thought about things, I had very little emotional connection to them. As I thought about stories, I found myself relaxed, and although I couldn’t think of anything, I felt the deep calm.
Just like the rain washed dog crap off our sidewalk, it also washed away my emotions and my stress.
In the rain, I found what I was looking for, even if it was a bit cold when I came into the air conditioned house afterwards.