Adventures in Chi-Town are going well. As we speak, I am watching  the snow pouring down and swirl as the wind sweeps the tops of the brick 3-flats lining our street. Streams of walkers bundled in winter caps with long colorful scarves wrapped around their necks and faces are heading to the El stop behind our apartment. In 20 minutes, I am going to bundle the girls’ in their winter coats and boots and hats and mittens and scarves, wrap Helena in her mei-tei and zip her up under John’s ski jacket, which I hijack on frosty mornings, and push our way to Ava’s school. It’s not a yurt in the middle of 80 acres in the Upper Penninsula, but I do enjoy it here.

Unfortunately, renting prohibits my chicken ownership but if we ever decide to buy something here (an event I doubt will happen, honestly) I will have my little flock of hens in my backyard. I have scouted out a community garden, though. And if nothing else, there is always the possibility of parking our van in the street in the summer time and using our parking spot for container gardens.

I have met more women and made more potentially true friends here than I did in my ten years in Michigan. Two words: Meet Up. (.com) Moms who know how to thrift shop and sew and knit and cloth diaper. Rock on.

The only thing I have really and truly missed, besides my family, is my Quaker meeting. I really miss it. I have tried to make other churches here work for me. Progressive feminist-leaning, gay-welcoming churches but I just don’t feel comfortable there. After two years of worshiping silently, listening and sometimes hearing, I can’t stand being preached to, even from well-meaning church leaders.

When I first began attending meeting, I was truly intimidated. It is a huge responsibility to find one’s own spirtual path without the heavy guiding hand of the Priest. The transition from Roman Catholic to Quaker was no small thing. But so much of what I had intiuitively believed all of my life was counter to the Catholic tradition. A Priest would tell me that I wasn’t listening to God, that I was being swayed by the world. But the truth is that the entire time I was indeed listening. If I were in a Bible-quoting contest I would probably lose. But God didn’t stop speaking to people 2000 years ago. Ethics and values do not remain frozen. They certainly changed between the time of Moses and Jesus if you believe that the Bible is true.

I’ve never believed that Jesus is God. A very good man, yes. Holy? Perhaps. But not the divine presence that I feel when I meditate. So all of the gospel reading, the praying to Jesus… I just don’t have it in me. I don’t think that it is wrong, mind you. But not true, or not true for me. Even the word God is difficult for me to say without the risk of misinterpretation. I use the word because other people understand it, but for me God is so much bigger and so different than what is usually meant when speaking of God. It is too gendered, too authoritative, too judgmental, too unchanging, too stubborn.

Heaven and Hell? No. It’s a lovely thing to think about… being rewarded for our good deeds, eternal life. Who doesn’t want that? But I don’t think that they exist, at least not in the sense that my Catholic family believes. If there is something, I assume it is more of a peaceful collective conciousness and it is the same for us all regardless of our earthly doings. Nothing involving free will or activity on our part. If that were the case, what would be the point? Isn’t God omnipotent? If so, and if Heaven and Hell is a replica of Earth with the good and bad seperated, why not cut to the chase and go right to the after-life? And besides, I believe that life on Earth matters. Doing what is right and just should not be a means to an end. It is the end.

I have no idea why I felt the need to spew this onto my blog. I know that it matters to no one but myself. Bottom line: I need to stop being lazy, get on the El, and attend the Meeting this weekend. I need that community.