I'm.... not easy to classify when it comes to spiritual belief. Which I'm actually pretty happy about, I think that it's better to have your own personal belief system as opposed to blindly following someone else's. My mother was Catholic when I was born, and I was a practicing Catholic until probably right around the time when my eleven year old cousin was diagnosed with liver cancer. After that, I sort of drifted thru goddess worship, straight up Wicca, a little paganism, I explored tarot and have had more than my share of psychic readings. I looked into Reiki, Axiotonal healing and am fluent in lots of alternative health treatments. I was pretty convinced that I knew what was going on in the universe, was very clear on how I thought everything worked... and then had the rug pulled out from under me when I miscarried my twins.
It was a very unplanned pregnancy, but one that was so incredibly wanted. And the loss at ten and eleven weeks of both babies was devastating to me. I literally became a different person. I no longer knew that the universe was a benovolent place, I was no longer even a little bit sure that everything happened for a reason. I felt lost and alone and more scared than I had ever been.
It was then that I got pregnant with Jessica, and started to build a life with an observant Jewish man. Judaism isn't a stretch for me, theologically. It's based on the premise that there is one G-d, neither male nor female. That humanity and G-d are in a partnership, and it's our obligation to make the world a better place. That Jews are commanded to perform mitzvahs (which truly doesn't have an English translations - because it's more than just good deeds, it's more than charity, it's more than lovingkindness - the best translation I can come up with is that it's actions (not thoughts, but actual actions) that make the world a better place). Jews are commanded to appreciate and value the world around us, there's literally a blessing to be said for just about everything you do during the day. It's a very joyous, loving faith, but also one that demands a certain level of commitment from believers. I don't get to just sit back and let the world swirl around me, as a Jewish woman, my obligation is to make it a better place.
But I'm finding, that almost ten years after the miscarriage, eight years after becoming a mother, and three years after formally converting to Judaism, that's there's still this element of spiritual questioning that I have. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was the right decision to convert to Judaism, Jewish theology is so closely aligned with my own personal belief systems, and I believe profoundly in giving my children a strong spiritual base from which to explore their own beliefs. Jewish culture, or at least Conservative Jewish culture, is still confusing to me. I feel like an outsider at the synagogue. While everyone there is very nice and kind, and my children are beloved there, I still feel.... a little outside of it all.
Maybe this is just a function of me. Maybe that's a part of my personality and anytime there's a big group thing I tend to feel a little removed. Maybe it's worth exploring other synagogues in the area, see if I can find one that's a little more... welcoming, respectful of all paths. Maybe I need to re-start my own spiritual quest, find my own answers. I don't know. I find, as my children get older, I feel a need to instill some part of my own traditions in their lives. To show them what they've got from my side of the family - it's not just Judaism, it's Judaism and this whole other world where their grandmother can divert storms and arrange for parking spots at the mall.
I don't have any of the answers anymore. I don't know anything for sure. But I know that there's a whole universe out there... and trying to understand it, trying to find our own higher purpose, is an eminently worthy goal.