A friend of mine let me borrow her copy of Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and took me to Nova Scotia this past Autumn when I needed to be whisked away from the world for a while. The book and the trip were exactly what I needed to find my way again. I met a couple of her friends who were real salt of the earth types. The spiritual but practical sort. I enjoyed their company and seeing the world through their eyes. I tend to enjoy any type of spiritual practice which is probably why I am friends with Christians, Buddhists, Catholics, Yogis, and everything in between. A good friend of mine once said , “you’d love me even if I started to worship the devil.” My response was something like, “if you were sincere and had good reason for it.” I tend to fall into the, it’s all the same category. Whether you want to worship saints, deities, god, gods, trees, or the universe it seems all the same to me. You’re putting your energy and faith into something outside of yourself. By having faith I feel like I’m saying there’s something bigger than me that is governing this life and I don’t know how much control I really have over any of it. There’s a scene in Cutting for Stone that I copied down, which is what I do when I find a really savory nugget that speaks to me.
“We lit candles. Hema fell to her knees, the flame throwing a flickering light on her face. Her lips moved. She believed in every kind of deity and in reincarnation and resurrection – she knew no contradictions in these areas. How I admired her faith, her lack of self-consciousness – a Hindu lighting candles to a Carmelite nun in a Catholic church.”
There is a Catholic church here that I go to on occasion, sometimes during a lunch break and light candles for the people that I love who have passed. It reminds me of childhood, and though I never stay for mass I like the familiar feeling. I’ll do my Om Shrim chant on the way home and talk about love languages with my Christian friend later that night. Sometimes there’s a voice in my head that says, “it’s not a buffet line, you’re eventually gonna have to choose one.” But for today I feel like Hema and feel no contradictions in these areas.