Religion is a formidable subject, probably more so today than ever before. Several wars, The Inquisition, The Crusades, slavery, terrorism, and the ethnic and sectarian conflict in Africa among others, have all been justified through the interpretation or more aptly the misinterpretation of misguided followers of religion. On the other hand, and I know I am taking certain liberties here, religion is a respite, a place to commune with your thoughts, your community, your Deity.
However you choose to worship, and that’s truly a personal decision, I believe a guiding principle should be quite simply, the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No matter what your belief system is, following the golden rule would make this world a kinder, gentler place to be.
I go to the same church service every Sunday. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I park in the same spot, sit in the same pew, next to the same people. If someone is “absent” I notice. If the same person is “missing” for more than two Sundays, I hope everything is ok and if it’s more than two Sundays, I downright worry. My Sunday’s at 7 am have become much more than an obligation or something I feel compelled to do. My Sunday’s are my time with Laura,
and by the way, Laura is me. Like many of us, at any given time, my thoughts are free floating, going from topic to topic as my “to do” list exponentially grows with each passing moment. For 45 or so minutes every Sunday, I’m able to quell my thoughts, quiet my mind, and internalize all that is important.
On most Sundays, I can not help but notice a family of four faithful church goers. I’m only surmising it’s a mother, father, and two adult children because in this day and age, it’s hard to tell who the mother is because mother’s look amazing, and this woman is no exception. This mother is extraordinary, a model of love and devotion. Watching her interact with her obviously developmentally challenged adult son is a true testament to the tenets of every religion, philosophy, spirituality, or whatever good is in the world.
Her son speaks out in a loud booming voice expressing any thought that comes to mind. Her compassionate touch as she quiets him with a simple shh….. is all that is needed until the next outburst. There is never a hint of impatience, condescension, or anger, just that gentle touch. I often think, how would I react in a similar situation? I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’m not sure…because although I believe the love, care and nurturing of my child would bring me to the same place of love and compassion, I can only imagine how difficult the road she traveled was and still is. Her son is clearly her love, which is evident by her unconditional affection for him when he needs it most.
Have you ever questioned whether or not you would be able to follow the tenets of the golden rule? I’d love to hear your story.