Okay…This post will start off with a warning. I will be discussing something quite controversial. Aka Religion. As a Buddhist and a Southern Gal I please ask you that if you can’t saying anything nice, don’t say anything at all. 🙂 And just wait till the next post. ❤ This is simply my views and I choose to respect anyone and everyone. I think this could be a good story for some of those that have fallen out of grace with the Christian community but are trying to seek that place where you aren’t bitter or angry any more. Because for a time I found myself angry. In the end, I think I was more angry at myself than the poor examples I saw around me. So let’s start shall we?
Today is Easter! I realized today was the first Easter I will spend as a Buddhist. It is really weird because most of my family is Christian and my in-laws are pretty hard core Christian. You’re wondering how a person surrounded by so much Christianism grows up to be a Buddhist? My husband put it this way, that I was more Buddhist than anything most of my life, I just didn’t know it.
When I first had this realization I was happy and devastated at the same time. When I officially “let go” of Christianity I felt free and as if I was able to breath! I didn’t have to hold myself to ridiculous standards that no one understood or couldn’t have one understanding of. I felt I didn’t have to look to God to heal my suffering or my problems. I was in control of my destiny. While I cannot ignore the invisible hand of fate that guides us through life, it’s unexplainable. The Buddha, when asked about these grand questions of where we come from, is there a God or higher being he’d simply remain silent. It wasn’t of importance to answer such great questions because it is beyond ourselves. I like that. No one really has solid proof that any God(s) exist. And that’s okay! Bill Nye the Science Guy really impressed me in the debate with Ken Hamm. He often said if you can bring us proof, the scientific community would welcome it and accept it! I wanted to do that. I wanted to model my ideas around this idea. To respect every religion and if someone else can change my mind, great! If not…I’m just gonna go on being good ole’ Ami!
I think there is this common misconception that if you aren’t Christian that you’re an atheist. If you’re not “with them” you’re “against them.” If you’re not Christian you’re an alcoholic, a drug addict, or you are miserable and suffering in your life. (It couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth!) I just cannot accept that type of mentality. However, this is so unfortunate because it drives so many good people to bitterness against a whole group of people. That’s not good either! So why am I rambling about this? Here’s my point.
Thinking back on last year the song “Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace” by Big and Rich came to mind. I struggled. Oh how I struggled. I was so scared of the reactions of my family. I was scared especially of my in-laws, probably still am, but I’m a little more at peace about my decision now.
So to the point maybe? Hee hee hee…..
Today is the day we celebrate a man that rose from the dead after being brutally beaten and crucified. Hung out on a cross to die. The image in my mind makes me sick. I was not a child inspired by movies like The Passion. I cried and was so thoroughly disturbed that humans were capable of such violence. But, I find myself trying to find something. Something to take away from this story. Something so that when my in-law’s and family are praying over Easter lunch…What can I think of? Where can I be thankful for this story? Where can I relate? Because I’ve learned the beginnings of compassion and love for ALL people starts with understanding and being able to find even the tiniest thing to relate to.
So today is Easter. I’ve always related more the Maundy Thursday. Back with my R Street Family I learned and invited people from our community (AKA a couple from our church since I was new to this concept) to join us for a meal just as Jesus had done. Now, that’s something I like. Community and feeding people. Are y’all surprised!? As I mentioned, the crucifixion itself just disturbs me to my core. But, I’ve read many a story like that. I don’t want to hold onto that negative thought. Ironically…this is where I found a relation. It’s funny how that happens. It comes where you least expect it. Christians believe that Jesus sacrificed his life so that they would not have to offer animal sacrifices any more for their sins. The ultimate pure blood was shed so that we could all have the opportunity at an eternal life so long as you believed that Jesus had done this and was the Son of God. We used to do this liturgical study…I forget what it was called. But we took one passage and read it several times and tried to identify what stuck out for us and what we thought it meant. (I actually really liked this.) What stuck out to me was sacrifice.
It is a really honorable thing that one man would sacrifice himself for others. But, as a Non-Christian I am reminded that Jesus is not the only story to celebrate this sacrifice. There are so many stories and ones that can be celebrated whether you are or are not any kind of religious. There are people who fight every day to keep our country free! There are men and women who walk out their door, give their significant other a kiss. One is going out to protect the streets from crime, or is going to a building trying to keep all of the criminals where they belong. Their partner is just praying they come home safe that night. There are men and women that run into burning buildings for the sake of rescuing and saving other peoples’ lives at the chance they could lose their own.
So…all in all…..What this really long (probably controversial) blog post is about is getting past my bitterness. Instead of rolling my eyes like a child when someone posts 1,000 pictures about Jesus’ resurrection, I’ll just smile and relate. All in all, I just want to encourage people no matter who you are and what you believe that we all are on this one tiny, little planet! We have to live this life together. Instead of living it with bitterness and possibly hate or disdain, let’s celebrate our differences and find ways to relate to each other. Let us love each other because we do, not because we think we’re obligated in some ancient text! When I sign off my posts or vlogs that I am sending you love and peace, I truly mean it deep inside my soul! Why? Because I do…It’s what I’m called to do. This is my True Religion! Kindness and Love and Compassion!
So if you’ve made it this far, thank you! I hope this can give some insight into my beliefs. At the end of the day my goal is to grow as a person, be the best mom, wife, family member that I can be and to encourage everyone around me (or in my audience) to live a positive life in whatever manner you think will lead to the highest amount of good! There are bad people in every group, but I would like to think more on that there are great people out there whether they are Christian, Atheist, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or any other religion.
So to all my Christian family and friends, Happy Easter! To everyone else, Happy Easter! Some people still do Easter egg hunts and have fun so happy Easter to y’all too! If not, if you just don’t celebrate Easter at all…Hey! That’s so okay! Just happy Sunday! I hope you all have a great week no matter what you’re doing. And as always, I am sending you all lots of love and peace to you and your journey.
All the best,
-Ami M. Lee