January 02, 2010


I've gone to church about half a dozen times since I've been home, and each time, although I try to be open-minded about the whole experience, I find myself being defensive about it.

In high school, although I don't know if I would have called myself religious, I was very involved in my church. I was a third-grade Sunday school teacher for two years, right after I became confirmed in the Catholic church. I enjoyed doing volunteer activities, and would frequently go out on church-sponsored night excursions to Yokohama to pass out fresh rice balls, hot green tea, and soup to the homeless that slept in the nooks and crannies of the city. I went to mass pretty much every Sunday and acted as a service lector here and there. The rest of my family was also very involved with the church, too.

Recently, I went to the Christmas mass at the Baltimore Basilica with my family. The lecture from the priest that day raised a lot of questions, and it's been on my mind since then.

Life is not easy, the priest said. It was not meant to be, and will not get any easier as it goes on. However, we have God and the church to show us the way. He illustrated this with an anecdote about how he tried to go out during the snowstorm that recently swept the East coast: he was having a hard time walking around in the snow, but he found that if he stepped in the footprints of whoever had tried to brave the storm before him, he was okay. He ended his lecture by stating that there is only one path to help us get through life-- the path of God.

Can I believe that? What does it mean if I believe that? Is that what Christianity means-- to believe that there is only one path? What does that mean for those who don't call themselves Christians?

All-in-all, what this all comes down to is nurturing your soul. Some people choose to nurture their soul in the gardens of God, others in Allah, others in ways that I haven't even heard of. But if the outcome is the same-- we live our lives to the best of our ability, being good to one another and to ourselves-- does it really matter?