Yesterday was a great day for me. I met a woman from a Facebook group I am in. We rode bikes and had lunch together. I often feel as though I dominate conversations, so when I meet new people, I try to focus on them and their lives. To me my life is a story and I could probably write a book about it, but I feel to dominate the conversation about myself would tend to put someone off.
I want to inspire and influence others, but I also am looking for inspiration and to be influenced. In my life, I find that those that influence and inspire me the most are those that do things out of the ordinary. People who enjoy life, but are not selfish but giving. I like to meet people and glean from them their stories about who they are and who they want to become. I love to hear the dreams and aspirations of others, so that maybe I will find inspiration in them.
I have met two other gentlemen in the local bar, that in themselves are fascinating. What I find even more inspiring is that they are inspired by my dreams and goals. It is funny how you can be focused on someone else and then suddenly they become interested in you and your dreams. I hope that one day I will be able to look back and see how my path is wound.
Yesterday the subject of God came up. This is not new for me, but it is a subject of deep consternation. Being brought up religious it is really hard to walk away from the idea of God. I have but I always wonder a bit in my heart. I have doubts about what this God may look like or feel like. Yesterday I had a profound talk about it. It hit me that one thing for certain to me is that God is not Hate. If you preach about God hating things, you are completely off-base. If you idealize God as being a strict and punishing being, you have lost my interest. These are things that I am positive I do not need or want in my life. As a society we have rules and mores. Each of us as an individual
have our own moral codes as well. These are usually influenced by our upbringing and things that we value.
Some of us are influenced by a belief in God, some of us are not. What I find the most interesting is that some seem to be so influenced not by God but by religious dogma, that they lose sight of the very people they are trying to influence. Telling people who God hates them, or that God hates something that they love, is not the best way to create belief in your faith. I was challenged on the idea that God is not and does not hate. A friend pointed out Hitler and how God must have hated Hitler. I do not believe that is so. There may have been no humanity left in Hitler by the time he took his life, but at some point in his life, I am certain that he felt some sort of love. What I believe about Hitler is that he hated himself to such a point that he had to redirect it at others. He became so wrapped up in his own power that it ate his soul. But I do not believe that God hated him, if anything God likely pitied him, and that may have infuriated Hitler more than the self loathing that he already felt.
This is significant when having a discussion about faith with those that have never had any faith. Last night I had several conversations about faith and religion and God. One thing that really sticks out is that no matter what you believe your faith in yourself is grounding. Meaning that without faith in yourself you will never be more than you are.
I confess that I am scared of giving up the life I know. At the same time I am truly excited to actually live life the way I want to live it. To not be tethered to material things and bound to a geographical location is quite literally liberating. I have been told by quite a few people who they admire me for doing this. One person in particular called me a philanthropist. I am not certain that is the proper word, but I understood what he meant. All my life I have felt a calling to service. At first I thought it was to be a missionary, because that was part of my religious upbringing. Later I realized that teaching starving and sick people about God without dealing with their physical problems was like trying to drain a lake with a ladle. I want no part of that. I want to help others get to a life of independence, not dependence on outside help. Eventually this results in servitude for those you are trying to help. Creating a dependence does is not helping at all. Teach a man to fish as the saying goes, is much better than giving a man a fish.
I feel compelled to share myself and my skills with others, in hopes of creating a better life for them and myself. The icing on the cake in this venture for me is to finally have my mother’s admiration and approval. Something I have spent my whole life seeking. The one time in my life where I expected rejection, I got a resounding approval. It feels as though my life is finally going to meet her expectations for me. Either that or the fact that I will be so far away is what she really wanted. Somehow I think it is more about living my life the way I want to that she is approving.
What made me feel the best was my mother’s statement that she wished she could do something like that, but she was basically trapped in her life. She owns a home and she is content with where she is. I imagine content may not be the proper term, but she is not about to make a drastic change in her life. I realized that over the years I have been working towards this moment. Learning to give up things and live simply is something that I had a hard time with at first. Once I realized the freedom that came with having less, I embraced it. I do not need to own property, for my design is to move around when life gets stagnant. At some point you either accept how life is going to be or you change it. I have changed mine enough times to become familiar and comfortable with it.
I have always envied those people I have met who in their early 20’s had great adventures and lived a life in service. I am fascinated and often wished I had been steered that way in my youth. I do not regret having children and raising them. What I do regret is not understanding myself earlier in life. I do believe that my life led this path for a reason, for I would probably not have been able to give up physical comforts in those early years. It has taken a long time for me to be able to let go. It has also taken a long time for me to understand the importance of life or money and humanity over possessions. I always wanted to be well off. Maybe no rich, but definitely more affluent than my parents. I think hitting rock bottom over and over again made me realize the path I was following was not the right one for me. It took losing everything a few times for me to realize that things are not that important. My health, my children and their health, those things matter. Just having enough is perfect. I like the idea of living minimally and knowing that I have options to change the things I do not like is more than adequate.
These things I have learned from the people that I have met. Both those with faith and those without. I think to me the most significant learning is that God, no matter how you view it, is within us. So faith in yourself is the truest faith of all. It is the one true faith, the one true love. If you cannot love yourself, you have missed a vitally important aspect of what the universe is trying to tell us.