Treat your body like a temple. Your body is a temple? One of those is a pretty common saying.
I don’t go to temple.
That’s not to say that I’m not religious you know, I am. I believe in some sort of higher power. I was raised a Hindu. The polytheism within it is nice because there’s a God for almost everything. So even if I don’t know the name of the God I can pray for everything from better weather to a safe car ride to an A on my next English paper and feel reasonably confident that there’s someone looking out for me. Someone told me recently that it is not good to pray to God only when you need something. I asked why and she responded “well, why would he (her? It? They?) listen to you if you only come to him (her, it, they) when you need something. He needs you to be faithful even when you don’t need him”.
Like I said, I don’t really go to temple. Not because I never want to, but because I genuinely don’t really have the time and because I could never understand why I had to stand in that building (the temple) for God to be able to hear me. So does this mean God has never answered any of my prayers? In the limited study of Christianity in classes and lectures that I have taken part in and actually paid attention in, there seems to be a variety of types of God. A punishing God at times…a human and somewhat relatable God even…a beneficent God.
I like to think that God is nice. He, She, It, They, What have you, wants the best for us. And I mean really wants us to do well. Wants us to be smart and kind and loving. Doesn’t shame or fault us for our actions but understands that we have to learn from our own mistakes. I like to think that God is Mom or Dad with that Polaroid camera. Thinking of everything as a Kodak moment. Taking the time to meticulously lodge each picture in this album of the world. Here: a picture of me throwing up on a Disney Cruise line as I felt my first bout of sea sickness. Here: my brother jumping around in his yellow power ranger costume that at the time none of us realized was Lowkey racist. Here: my parents nervously getting on a plane to immigrate to a country they had never visited before.
I don’t think God cares as much about customs and etiquette and ritual as we humans do. I don’t think he(she, it,they) cares whether you turn right or left before approaching the altar, whether you pronounce the words of an ancient language 100% correctly or swiftly etc. I think we humans use this ritualization as an element of control in our otherwise uncontrollable lives.
I played soccer for about 12 years, the first three of which can’t have really been called soccer. A soccer ball was used. That’s about the only rule we followed. All of us 7 year olds would rush at the ball, pushing and shoving unintentionally (sometimes intentionally) just to be able to touch this slippery, consistently moving thingy that we were supposed to get in this somewhat larger white thingy. There were girls who chased butterflies on the field instead of the ball.
I hated them.
Anyways, one fateful day I managed to get my toe/foot/ankle/body on the ball. This was it. The moment I had always been waiting for (for the two years I’d been playing) and I was so ready to go. In my mind I was deftly darting and dashing through defenders to complete my mission. In reality I was tripping over the ball but somehow managing to get it towards the goal. I uncoordinatedly swung my foot at the ball, it connected and went rolling into the goal. I jumped up and down expecting to be greeted by my cheering teammates, my adoring fans…but found neither. I looked toward the sidelines and my mother was sitting there with one hand over her mouth. The other parents looked sympathetically over at her as if in consolation.
I had scored in the wrong goal. One point for the Bobcats. My team, the house cats, wandered back to our side of the field.
I sadly looked up at my mom through tear filled lashes and instead of the anger that I expected to see on my moms face I saw her smiling at me and waving. It’s ok, it’s just a game.
I never scored on the wrong goal again. (That’s a lie but I tried really hard not to)
That’s my feeling about God. I didn’t exactly follow the correct practices of the game of soccer…but my intentions were good. If God wanted us to get everything right he wouldn’t have given us so many flaws.
In response to the woman who told me God wanted us to be faithful…I agree. Faith isn’t praying everyday or going to the temple or doing everything the right way. It’s living in that grey area and remaining teachable. It is running around the soccer field and ending the game with an orange slice in your mouth and sticky hands.
Religion is a big topic. Too big for one blog post and Im no expert…but there you go. Some of one gal’s thoughts on a giant, pervasive and every changing topic.
Until next time,