A christian, an agnostic and a spiritualist walk into a church with a mixture of emotions.
The christian was but a boy, a spry 11 years old. Every Sunday he came with his grand-father to go and sing with the choir while his grand-father played the violin.
There were other members whom he got along with, some around his age, most were significantly older.
He spent a lot of Sunday’s going to church, attending Sunday school when he was younger and making an assortment of crafts.
That being said, he didn’t think of himself much as a man of faith.
He found the sermons boring, but never honestly dwelled on his own faith at this point. He came here mainly for the community.
The christian boy was the earliest one here, coming with his grand-father to help set up and get ready. When the set up was all done he was munching away at breakfast foods that one of the band members made since he didn’t get a chance to have breakfast.
One by one the congregation spilled in. There were people at the front entrance counting out all the people that were coming in. Soon enough the agnostic teenager and spiritual man came in.
The agnostic teenager was in his late teens, practically a “grown-up” at 19 years old. He came back from his trip across Canada and was nice to be around family again but has gone through a lot.
He had knots in his stomach from stepping back into this place that he spent so much time in. In middle school he went through a lot of drama in his life and slowly drifted away from this community he was so familiar with.
He didn’t outright hate religion, but he had trouble grasping it’s validity.
He was familiar with tests that questioned his faith, he heard about it before. However what he was going through led him down a path that made him feel awkward to be in a place like this. He was neither religious nor atheist. He was more like a nobody. Faithless.
He was a shell of who he was when he first came to this place. Middle school forced him to shut away the world. What made it worse was when “God” was meant to help him, nothing happened.
He felt betrayed, but found solace by helping other people.
His shut-in behaviour turned to him talking to other people who seemed to off-load their problems onto him.
As a result, he spent most of his time in his room. Even when he travelled across Canada, he kept a lot of time to himself as opposed to being present.
That isn’t to say the experiences didn’t change him. Even after all these years, even as a shell, he came back to this place.
It still felt very weird to be in a place like this though.
Finally the spiritual man came in. He sighed and closed his eyes, for a moment, breathing in the usual church-like smell. It had been a nearly a decade since he stepped into this place.
He had stepped into a few churches in the past, five times to be precise. Two because of curiosity, three because of funerals.
He wasn’t a man who argued about religion and is a fairly open-minded man. He doesn’t judge of peoples faith, though he was faithless and alright with that. People presumed he was a man of spiritualness mainly because of his strong belief in self-improvement.
The few times he attended church and listened to sermons, the preacher echoed things that he learned through his growth. He murmured his principals and how it connects to the sermon back to the others around him.
He believed in a higher existence, but not of God or Jesus. A higher existence of the self. He even started a company that was slowly growing as he spread his word of living a positive life when you believe in yourself.
He shared some of the stories of what he was like when he was younger. From a social individual to someone self-conscious about himself. He talked about how he felt like he was a shell, someone who lacked an identity, and how all of these things connected to him and made him into the man he is now, walking between the pews and soon taking a seat.
No matter what their faith was, all three of them sang when the music started.
The christian boy sang with various tones, still trying to find his singing voice accompanied by a medley of sound behind him.
The agnostic teenager sang more controlled, but his stomach was in knots even more.
The spiritual man sang with confidence and didn’t alter pitches. He sang with passion due to his love for singing.
To this day I still do not believe myself as a man of faith. Spiritualness is the closest thing and even then I feel it is a bit vague. From a young age I followed a path of faith and it was shaken by the first serious altercation in my life.
It made me hollow, made me lose faith in myself. It left me vulnerable with no one to truly help me. While it is saddening, it allowed me a great window for me to discover who I am. Not to mention how religion fit into all of this too.
I soon realized that faith was not the path for me to take. It made me lose my identity, but that wasn’t the reason why. The reason was that after seriously asking myself what I believed in, my emotions pointed me nowhere. Not to a particular faith, but to myself.
At the time I didn’t quite understand. Instead I continued to coast through life, not thinking much about my decisions and listened to those whom I got to open up to more. I still clung to yet another identity, that I would someday be an accountant.
But as my journey to become an accountant continued, the more that direction to myself made more and more sense. It made sense to pursue what I wanted to believe in.
And who exactly did I believe in?
It didn’t push me to find renewed faith in what I had in the past or for higher and better grades in school. It pushed me to figure out who I am, my identity, and what I wanted to pursue.
Before I even realized it, I was writing every day. Talking about things that I didn’t fully grasp. I was hypocritical, but every time I was called out, I had a revelation and grew myself. This kept happening until I learned to catch myself, to watch myself carefully as I developed and continue to develop.
I do have a faith, but not a faith that so many people across the world praise. I am open to all kinds of faiths, but the one that I will never sway from is the faith in myself and the story I want to share.