in school, freshman year to be exact, we take this class about the catholic faith (i go to a catholic school). i am not catholic (i’m episcopalian, as some of you may know), but this was a required class to take. besides, the catholic/episcopalian denominations have their fair share of similarities, so i was able to use a lot of what i learned in this course in regard to my own beliefs and methods of worship.
one thing i learned in this class was the true meaning of the sacrament of confirmation. i threw away everything i thought i knew, because confirmation, i discovered, is not becoming an adult in the church or simply confirming that you are indeed a christian. confirmation is instead the renewal of the grace which you receive in baptism and the public, willing, and mature commitment you make to yourself and to God. i had the honor of being confirmed by bishop wright of the episcopal diocese of my city. as a matter of fact, along with my school’s choir, i sung at his ordination in sixth grade (wow, what a throwback…)! we were confirmed by going up to the altar and kneeling before the bishop. he placed his hands upon our heads and cradled us, speaking to us in the Godliest of words. there was something about that moment that changed me.
the night before saturday, the day i got confirmed, i remember thinking to myself, oh shoot. i forgot to fall in love with God again before confirmation tomorrow. now it won’t mean as much…
fall in love with God. again.
as if i had fallen out of love. as if i had somehow gone off-path and was now wandering, a lost child straying away from the one who loves her most.
instead of trying to get back on track, i wrapped myself up in the business of that day. in my haircut appointment, in my makeup, in my shoes, in my camera. yet, in the moment that i was kneeling humbly before God and before my entire congregation, there was a cosmic shift.
somewhere, up in a place unknown to me, the course of my life was altered. shaken up. my soul was stirred. my eyes were opened by the lens of God, my fingertips guided to where i needed to be.
all my life, i’ve searched for perfection in myself, in my relationships, in my endeavors. what i did not realize is that i was made with this desire for perfection so that it would guide me to the one who is perfect: it’s God.
God is like us, but is also completely unlike us. He is not so much a face in the sky, but more of a divine presence. He is the earth beneath your feet, He is the wind in the trees, He is the twinkle in your eye, He is a breeze on a hot day, He is these magical synchronicities that seem to be made of pure dreams. God is all knowing, all being, all loving, all good. no matter who you are or where you come from, you are known and loved by Him. you don’t have to change – you don’t have to be someone else – He calls us to come as we are. He made us as we are – there is so much beauty in that.
when bishop wright was giving the homily, he said something that really stuck with me – “easter is cosmic assurance of earthly endurance.” easter is pure hope, pure light, pure joy. easter is freedom: it assures us that we have an infinity of love and light waiting for us – an infinity of enlightenment, if you will, waiting for us when we finish our time on earth.
leaving this service, i felt the deepest pull to worship i’ve ever felt. going back to church the next morning on easter sunday was like returning home after forever, except i was only apart from worship for what, twelve hours?
realizing the soul shift, so to speak, that has uprooted a lot of what i thought i knew, has brought me to some realizations:
- praying when you go to sleep and right when you wake up is magical. i only got six and a half hours of sleep last night, except i was full of energy and light today because i prayed. divine strength is all i can say.
- if you have a strong urge to do something, follow your intuition and do it. say a prayer, ask for strength, and then do it. i promise you will be rewarded. i did that today – after a full year of wearing makeup to school every single day in a desperate attempt to conceal my acne, i went makeup-free. i felt like i could breathe for the first time in a while, and surprisingly i was not filled with insecurity, as i thought i would be.
- buy a bible with margins. you need room to write your favorite prayers or thoughts. especially when your handwriting is messy and sporadic like mine.
- it is absolutely possible and a quite beautiful thing, i think, to connect ideas from other philosophies to christianity. i’m easily able to connect synchronicity, enlightenment, intuition, natural healing, veganism, and meditation to Jesus – i feel as though people often forget that he was truly the most open-minded person of his time. a closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose…
- we are all but sons and daughters of the greatest and most loving king… we are empowered simply because we are here.
- no matter how you tell the story of God, let your central truth be that regardless of how broken, beaten, or bruised you are, that you’re worthy of love, that you are loved, and that you have the fullness of the universe waiting for you.
- GOD IS LOVE.
confirmation “confirmed” a lot of things for me: my commitment to God, my love for divinity, my fascination with the cosmos, my admiration of words, my uncontrollable urge to read and learn and fathom, my respect for people, and my desire to pour out my thoughts and ideas some how, some way… to name a few.
i can most definitely say that i have fallen in love with God… permanently. after basing a lot of my happiness and fulfillment on sand, i have found a rock: God. God is love. the love you feel for summer, the love you feel for your pets, the love you feel for your mothers, the love you feel for the world… the love your parents feel for you, the love your dog feels for you, the love the earth gives to you, the love your friends give to you… that love is God. as i pursue this new haven which i have stumbled upon, my hope is that i can inspire others to pursue God as well. as bishop wright told me as he presented me with a copy of the book of common prayer, it can’t hurt – it can only help.
thank you. for listening and for being here. know of my abundant love and prayers – xoxo