I was sad to see this Zebra Finch and his friends behind wire yesterday. They seemed content enough, but do they even remember that they were born to fly free?
It reminds me of how I used to be. Content and secure in my cage.
I was raised in what I thought was a Christian family, but now call pseudo-Christian. I inherited my beliefs about who God is from my mother and step-father and from others in the myriad of churches we attended. The Bible was portrayed as a book without error. I was to read it every day, memorize it and obey it without question. I was taught that being gay was an abomination to God, that divorce was wrong, that I needed to evangelize and help others to see the Truth.
We had The Truth. Anyone that didn’t think and believe the same as us was wrong. It was my responsibility to help them to see the error of their ways so that they could be saved. I was told that we weren’t religious as it wasn’t about following rules and regulations but rather a relationship with God. I believed all this and did my best to follow God and be all that I was meant to be.
The sad thing was that I held on to those beliefs for so long. But why wouldn’t I? Seeing I had The Truth, why would I question it? Why would I seek to understand more of who God was if I had him defined already? Yup. I had him in a box.
Problem. I didn’t realize that I was also in a box. Or rather, a cage.
Over the last two years I’ve been coming out of that cage. A big catalyst for me has been conversations with my Dad. He has challenged my thinking and belief systems in ways that no one else ever has. It has been really difficult at times – having the foundations of my world view rocked. However the biggest thing I’ve realized is that the God outside the box of religion is so much bigger and more amazing than I ever imagined.
Religion, race, roles we play…none of them matter. They aren’t what life is all about. We are souls first and foremost. We are all interconnected. How we treat one another, love one another and connect with one another is much more important than having a so-called monopoly on the truth and/or following someone else’s interpretation of ‘God’s rules’.
We were born to be free. Free to love, free to be.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.