Today, for whatever reason,
I found myself remembering how people of various religions
have knocked on my door–
usually when I’m tending to my children–
and asked to speak with me about their faith.
Latter Day Saints,
Members of the Greater Faith Outreach Church…
am I forgetting anyone?
For some reason today,
I found myself remembering how I responded to them.
I didn’t want to be impolite or dismissive.
Clearly they had come for a reason.
I also didn’t want to spend my time
in discourse with them, feigning interest
in adopting their shared religious identity.
I remembered how I told them,
“Yes I believe in God,”
and how I silently added,
“Probably not the same way you believe.”
“Yes I pray,” I told them
and then thinking, “Probably not in the same way you do.”
Trying to maintain a sense of connectedness,
while not selling out or losing my authenticity.
I remembered I didn’t want to hurt their feelings,
but I wanted to reclaim my afternoon with my children,
and just bask in the sunny patches of grass under the maple tree in the back yard
and stare at bugs, and clouds, and how the blades of grass dance in the breeze.
I thanked them, accepted a pamphlet,
wished them a wonderful day,
closed the door, relieved that they were gone.
Today I wondered how a spiritual master would greet such people?
Would they invite the Witnesses In, laughing?
Would they give the Latter Day Saints more of their time?
Would they listen to those of “Greater Faith,”
and offer the most precious gift of their attention?
Today I wished I could’ve had such a master with me when I answered the door.
Someone who would say, “Watch this,”
and skillfully remind whomever it was who had arrived with a speech
that silence speaks louder than words.
How if we could all just shut up for a moment,
and take the hands of the person nearest to us,
if we could look into their eyes with true love and acceptance,
we wouldn’t need to call it anything,
we wouldn’t need a special building to house that feeling
or validate that ceremony.
We wouldn’t need a brochure or a liturgy or a ritual or a common prayer
to impress newcomers and draw them into the fold.
That moment of true connection, silent and pure,
that moment of seeing the perfection of all that is,
that moment of oneness, of wholeness, of inexplicable peace for no reason at all–
this is the only religion I know.