Spirituality (and foosball)

By The Columbia Chronicle

We would usually arrive at church about an hour early so we could get in a few games of foosball—my mom and me vs. my brother and sister. Everyone else would mingle upstairs, but the real challenge for us was to see whose week it was to dominate the table.

I suppose this could have something to do with why I saw church as a sort of game or show, but for the most part I just never really had a good feeling about being there.

Most of the people were nice enough, but they were definitely careful about how they approached one another and extremely cautious of the newcomers. That was the thing, we were always newcomers. My mom apparently wanted to throw us in the mix and see what we would latch onto, so we were constantly changing our Sunday experience.

I don’t recall every church we attended, but I do know that hearing people speak in tongues at 7 a.m. was frightening, being Catholic took way more time than being Methodist, and being Methodist meant we were able to listen to a live band and sing along and not in a monotone, creepy kind of way.

My mom is fairly religious, but for the most part, she keeps to herself about it. I’ve used her ideas to take up routine praying in the past, but without the arrival of my various “wishes,” I concluded it was crazy to continue talking to myself just before bed. I don’t know if I necessarily believe in coincidence or fate (or some type of a mixture of the two), but I have always thought there to be at least a reason for things that happen—which maybe rules out the coincidence aspect, but I don’t necessarily outline my life according to this idea. It’s more of a way for me to justify when horrible things happen so I don’t give up all hope that things can get better, and so I can try to find the lesson in whatever the situation brings.

It’s a very personal approach for me, and I don’t find myself feeling the need to attend a church service in order to learn life’s lessons (whatever they may be).  I do appreciate external viewpoints and contrasting opinions, but I don’t think those can only exist in a particular place (i.e. church). I don’t like the idea of what organized religion can do to people, and therefore have an extremely cautious approach to following the leader.

The idea of attending church became more and more of this type of showy, look-at-me kind of act that seemed to completely contradict why I thought we were there: to be better people, to do what was right, to follow the word of the Lord, etc. It was seeing these people act one way at church and another way outside in everyday life that brought about this conflicting viewpoint, leading me further and further away from the idea of attending church (or using church services) to define my spirituality.

For me, spirituality calls upon a variety of different experiences that I use to try and approach life in the most positive way I can. Using ideas of “good” or “moral” to outline a path as I go along gives me room to breathe instead of constantly feeling like I’m sinning or less than perfect, or in a continual state of repair. It allows for me to have a goal to be better, but doesn’t make the goal seem unattainable.

Perhaps those foosball games in the basement of the church on Sunday mornings were just what I needed to remind myself that you can’t always have what you want and things don’t always go how you want them to, but there is still a way you can get through every day and persevere.