They say God never gives you more than you can handle. Well, 2009 apparently was my year to be tested. In April, my only living grandmother died unexpectedly. In August, my father died after a long illness due to prostate cancer-related complications. Additionally—as if this was not enough—when the year ended, a significant romantic relationship also ended. After four years of the relationship being on and off, my ex parked it in permanent “off” state. Saying goodbye to someone I loved a great deal in the middle of all this loss just made everything that much worse. When 2010 began, I wondered how I could possibly heal from all my pain.
Father—gone. Grandmother—gone. Boyfriend—gone.
It was a holy triumvirate of personal pain.
I felt extremely alone. And I thought God had forgotten me.
So, I set out to find God—and I decided to look everywhere and in the eyes of everyone I encountered.
At the beginning of 2010, I decided that spirituality could be and would be the context within which I made my journey back to myself. I made a commitment: to visit a different place of worship every week, whether that place of worship reflected my religious tradition or not. This became one of my life’s most meaningful experiences, and I am excited to share it with you.
So, thankfully, 2010 was a different kind of year. Some of my worship experiences included:
In total, I visited 61 churches, temples, mosques, shuls, synagogues, covens, living rooms, and other places of worship in the USA, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and South Africa. .
As I navigated through my first year after a year full of loss and disappointment, I used these worship experiences to find out what the meaning of my life would be, going forward, after all of these changes. I soaked in the kindness of strangers, contemplated my faith and the faith of others, honored my father, faced my grief and pain head on, and came out on the other side grateful, strong, and prepared to live a life where I see goodness and divinity everywhere.
I was looking for a life vest … but what I found was an anchor.