I’ve wanted to join a spiritual community for some time, though I wasn’t sure what community exists that I want to be part of. I liked the idea of a commune in Baltimore that grows their own vegetables right in the city, and while I’d prefer to be in the country, I like the conveniences and diversity of city life. But I knew I could not live there because at the time I had my dog, and I suspected that they drink and smoke pot, which in itself is not a problem necessarily, but just not the life I want to live for myself anymore. I’d learned about farms hiring help to live and work the farms, and I liked that idea, but that too would not have been ideal for my dog, nor was it necessarily part of a community to my knowledge. I’ve been to Buddhist meditation meetings, and I like the message and probably have a lot in common with the people, but the particular meeting I like is in a location I don’t care for, and includes about 200 people—too large for me. Church was out of the question because Christianity is weird to me, but then I learned that some of my friends go to a community church that must be okay if they go there. Plus my boyfriend considers himself a Christian though he’s never been a big churchgoer due to the hypocrisy and lack of community he’s felt there. So we decided to try this church where my friends go.
The first thing that happened was an announcement from a woman about a program they’re doing on racial injustice. Then another woman made an announcement about a program for local food pantries. Someone else got up to speak about a book about someone who was wrongfully accused of murder and put on death row, and the book group they’ve formed to discuss it and how to help those who’ve been wrongfully accused. I was on the verge of tears the whole time, and this was before the minister even got up to speak. The reason is because this is precisely the kind of thing my mother would have loved. She too felt uncomfortable with organized religion yet lived a spiritual life of service to others. When the minister got up to speak, he talked of living by example to others. He also pointed out that Christianity is not anti-Judaism. This was exactly the kind of life my mother lived. Mom also felt that you should educate yourself on the issues, vote, and if you could afford it, vote with your pocketbook by buying products that were fair trade and helpful to small business owners. She believed in giving of your time and money (again, if you could afford it) to others in whatever way you could. I lit a candle for her and wrote a prayer for her that I put in the prayer basket. I want to learn more about the projects and programs that this church is involved in and get involved myself. My mother was a true inspiration, and I hope I can live a life that she’d be proud of.