I pulled my family towards the front of the church and we sat in one of the first pews. As I stood awkwardly in dress shoes and an Easter dress, feeling the warmth of the sun on my shoulder, the songs from the choir filled my body with a bubbly feeling. I closed my eyes to hold back my tears because it made no sense to be crying right now, except the fullness of spirit was overfilling me and I only had one option to release, through my eyes.
My faith has looked different throughout the years. I grew up in a Catholic household where we went to church every Sunday and we didn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, until we were no longer a Catholic household after the priest scandal gripped the country/world and our faith in the church wasn’t stronger than our love for humanity. I went to Catholic school for grades 8-12, but my high school didn’t look like the stereotypes in movies or the stories my father would share with me with nuns hitting our knuckles. Our school was run by Franciscan brothers who loved all of us and pushed us all to be the best we could be. We were encouraged and allowed to ask questions. I sat in Father Doherty’s theology class my junior year and asked more questions than I think a person should be allowed to ask. My friend Nate and I would volley questions back and forth questioning each Gospel, each sentence. Father could read the Greek, as he was a Greek Orthodox priest, and he would tell us what the original writings were and why some of the passages didn’t make as much sense in English. He would patiently and joyfully answer each of our questions. Our curiosity and doubt never seemed to annoy him, rather it seemed to be a space where love and hope could flourish. My curiosity led me to continue to seek faith in many spaces.
I entered a warm basement in the winter of my sophomore year of high school with my mother. We were searching for answers and relief for my chronic pain. The doctors gave us some answers but almost no relief. We were looking towards yoga and a different kind of faith. I was uncomfortable in that heat, the prickling feeling on my back and my face making me itchy. The woman led us in breathing, deep fully bodied breath. The dimly lit space made me feel more at ease in moving my body in ways that I wasn’t comfortable in and my body wasn’t ready to move into. I had to trust my body in this space, something I wasn’t doing much of at that time because every day my body seemed to fail me.
My friend Erica and I went into a shop on Ninth Street in Durham. We found candles and books about nature and witchcraft. It felt forbidden but I was drawn to these readings, these teachings. I purchased the books and some Tarot Cards and smuggled them home to read in my bedroom. The truth that emerged for me in those books and the cards felt like home – warm, comfortable, mystical, loving.
Walter read from The Pocket Pema Chodron, the little red book with highlights and little flags sticking out. He took a deep breath and clearly spoke the words. Tears streamed down my face just as they had when I stood in church on Easter and heard the gospels read and the songs sung. This filling of my soul from the truth felt like something I needed to get closer to.
My faith is not tied to a religion any longer. I listen to Pema and to rev. angel and to Nadia Bolz-Weber. I read the gospels and my cards each morning. I listen to the wind and the water in the distance. I used to worry about the woven nature of where I find truth and comfort, my faith has shown me that that worry is unnecessary.
In these times where hope and love is strained, I offer up these cards. They are each hand printed and then uploaded where text was added. The words come from people I listen to in order to hear the universe clearly. Please feel free to download the PDFs and enjoy them.