By: Brandy Black
I am not religious, never went to church when I was young. I grew up meditating and I guess I am -for lack of a better word – spiritual. My parents never discouraged me from organized religion; I tried going to church with friends but they always whispered through it and were more excited about the doughnuts afterward. I didn’t get it. I loved my religious studies class in college, I wanted to understand what it all meant and the more I learned the more I realized that everyone is looking for the same thing with different teachers and different rules. I realized that the way I find my “peace” in life was just as good as any other.
Now that I have a child, I have wondered what it would be like to be a part of a church, a bigger community. There is something comforting about gathering with like-minded people and sharing in something greater than us. Living in a big city, it’s easy to forget what the real purpose of life is, that material things are just that, that the most important things in our lives are so much deeper than what we focus on day-to-day. I want a reminder to stop and listen and breathe and love and smile because it’s easy to forget. I have been thinking about this for a couple years now.
Last Friday, I think I found what I’ve been looking for, not in a church, not in a temple, but in the play yard of Sophia’s preschool, sitting on a blanket among several other parents singing Shabbat shalom, Shabbat shalom, Shabbat Shabbat Shabbat shalom. There I was, daughter on my lap, clapping my hands and singing my heart out and it felt good, to be able to do that with everyone, free of judgment. To stop everything on a Friday morning and just be, exist, remember what life is all about. I felt so much for all of the parents around me, some I knew, some I didn’t, but we were all there sharing in this celebration together. Who knew that what I was looking for would be so simple to find.