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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My Spiritual High

Chayyei Sarah recently wrote extremely honestly about the emotional rollercoaster that is religion - the Highs and the Lows. Reading through her posts gave me a lot to think about. What are my religious highs and religious lows? Which do I currently connect with more frequently? Why? The lows I related to very much. Sometimes it is just hard to feel connected when you are tired, or sad, or having a rough day where nothing feels like it is going right (my morning yesterday being a perfect example). But Sarah's highs gave me a lot to think about. Her connection to the Jewish people is something that I have to question whether I have ever really felt. Growing up, I was always either the only or one of a handful of Jews in my school. I didn't share a whole lot of interests with the other Jews I knew, so I had very few friends who shared my religion. I have always valued my individuality, so I think the fact that I was a different religion from most of the people I knew actually made that part of my identity stronger than if everyone I knew had been Jewish. Because I was different, I had to define how and why I was different and I had to regularly delineate what it meant to me. And I was constantly asked by others to explain what it meant. Even today, when a lot of my friends are Jews, I value the opportunities that I have to connect with people who are different from me. I like comparing and contrasting different belief systems. Some of the most fascinating conversations I have are with a classmate of mine who is a religious Muslim. We often talk of our similarities, and the differences. I value the fact that we can get along extremely well based on our common interests, practices and belief in the human spirit, and belief in God. My religious highs come much more from my connection to Hashem. The reasons that I chose to become religious came from a search for meaning, and purpose, and a feeling that I have a special place in this world. That Hashem cares about me individually, and has given me a reason for being here. That He cares about my actions. When I can remember that, it gives me a spiritual high. When I am going through difficult times, I lean on Hashem and pour out my heart and tears to Him. My connection is much more with God than it is with the Jewish people. It is more personal than communal. So it was interesting to read Sarah's post and see the difference in her perspective. I guess there is more than one way to a spiritual high.


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