When I was about eight years old I started attending synagogue on my own. At the time my mother was a Christian but not attending a church and my father was a non-practicing Jew. I must have felt the desire to be part of a religious community. I rode my bike to Sunday school, where I learned Hebrew. I attended some of the Friday night services. I had my first theater experience: I played Charlie Brown in Your a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
What compelled me to get on my bike as a little boy and head out on my own? I am not sure. I remember my parents attending some of the services with me, and I recall they came to see me in the play. But, neither reinforced my attendance nor did they participate as I did.
After my synagogue experience, my mother began searching for a church to belong to and I went with her. We attended over 10 different denominations of Christianity, most of them not more than once. We visited a Unitarian church. We became Mormons for two years (there are other Mormons on my mother’s side of the family). At one point my mother converted to Judaism and I did, too, many years after my synagogue attendance.
My dad used to joke and say my mother belonged to the religion-of-the-week club. But, the truth is that she was a seeker and her spiritual drive was strong. She passed that along to me. I am grateful to her for being exposed to so many different traditions and especially doing it together. It was a great education, one that I was not getting in school.
My spiritual drive showed itself and, I think, sparked my mother’s quest. It was something she and I shared for the rest of her life. She was a Catholic in the last 15 years of her life or so. She joined a congregation where she felt the community spirit to be strong. She studied Catholicism and did a full conversion. At her memorial service, in the rec room of her church, I remember so many people. They came and testified to her good spirit. It was a powerful reflection of her.
Where does your spirit lead you? Did you show signs early on as I did? What might you do this week to care for your spirit?
“I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress.” – Dan Brown