In the beginning independence was thrust upon me. This was my birth family’s culture; I was steeped in it. I acted accordingly, often in ignorance for consequences that arose out of my actions. I was paddled; I learned to forget consequences. I grew and remained unconscious of the matrix of support that upheld me. I was confident. I had the 8 resources of abundance I was accustomed to them and I put them to work.
For instance I lived in Manhattan for 13 years. Before that it was the destination my birth family sought for cultural and social aspiration. So my gravitating to study and live in New York City was natural. When I graduated from New York University I stayed in Manhattan. I began to make my life in the big city. I did not calculate odds or beliefs or means or effects. I was poor and proud and independent. I felt I could never be left behind. Rather I felt could leave what I had behind. I left my adopted home, and the real but small life I’d built, and I moved to Knoxville, TN. I did not calculate odds or means or effects or beliefs. I felt complete. I was confident.
I’d grown into my spiritual life in New York City too. I was initially a little off balance. I knew it was so, however. I took my spiritual life for granted. I didn’t believe my choices and actions would affect anyone, even me. In Knoxville, TN. now, and St. James my spiritual home, I realize the costs, the voids, and the empty spaces I left behind. I see with clarity. And I see with clarity the darkness in the empty spaces, the human spiritual costs others leave behind.
Do those who worship within St. James’ bricks & mortar achieve some spiritual clarity? I hope so. St. James is not just a club, some venue, any place for corporate worship. It’s a spiritual and religious community; people come together who engage and learn about one another, giving and receiving joy and pleasure in the similarities, diversity, and differences we find with and within The Spirit. We make friends at our spiritual crossroad. Each day many new folks are traveling to our crossroad. Some folks more older than younger, are leaving what was their crossroad. It’s their affirmation and denial as spiritual choice.
The Buddha professed his 5 Remembrances to ease human suffering. His 4th & 5th remembrances say,
4th All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them. 5th My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.
I’m saddened by the separation from those whom I grew to know. I’m saddened by the separation from those from whom I received joy.
Did you know you gave joy? Did you know that? Did you know you received joy? I hope you felt it. Do you know in your spiritual life you depend on joy? We are not independent from joy; we need it.
I feel their absence, the void, within me. I suffer with it.
Selfishly I ask, do those who consciously choose to leave what had been their spiritual home, do those who entered into the life of the church, my spiritual home, our spiritual home at one time, realize the effect they have on the people, who received joy and gave joy, when they leave?