Recently at a family gathering we were talking about religion. I think it was on Mother's Day. Everyone had come to my house for brunch and someone's comment got us sharing our various and, sometimes, on the surface anyway, incompatible views. We are Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Russian Orthodox, and some, like me, are spritually eclectic but not religious.
We do love each other... we are a very close family who would help each other with any need. No questions asked, our love for each other is unconditional. But the religion thing is sticky. In our younger days we argued, with each dramatically, heatedly expressing his or her own righteousness. Sometimes we'd leave a gathering not liking each other so much. But over the years we've softened if not abandoned the contentiousness. No one has changed religions or got religion but we've agreed to live and let live and use our precious time together to enjoy the wonderful food, enjoy each other, catch up on kids, grandkids, savor the embrace of family. We are a huge family, by the way. I am the oldest of seven kids. Between us we have18 kids - many of whom have their own kids. My mom is a great-grandmother many times over. We are having a family reunion in August with about 25-30 attending. Not our biggest gathering but what fun we'll have out at my sister's farm.
Here are Ken and I (I'm in the back with a blurred head) at the Oregon coast a few weeks ago with two of my siblings and various family members. My niece was graduating from nursing school. We rented a beach house to celebrate with her.
Anyway, on this particular Sunday when the conversation unexpectedly turned to religion because we were discussing end-of-life topics (my sister-in-law's mother was in critical condition and not expected to live - she's now rebounded and doing better, however) each of us expressed pretty much the same beliefs we'd always shared.
But I declared that I had found a new religion! Yes, I said, I now believe in tea bags - the ones with quotes on the tabs. You know, the little tabs that hold the string. Often, the quote seems to be exactly what fits in that moment. And, I continued, I had found the very heart of all religion on one tab. The essence, the unifying universal tenet we could all believe in. All eyes were riveted on me. This is it, I said:
We are here to love each other, to serve each other,
and uplift each other.
This was from a Yogi Tea teabag. Maybe my Immune tea. I drink it first thing in the morning as part of my opening to the day... with a little prayer, quiet reflection, positioning myself back in the location of the present.
To Love. To Serve. To Uplift.
Well, I didn't change anyone's religion but I think we all agreed it was a true statement and worthy guidance. Daily, hourly, I find it serves me well to be mindful of this in all my encounters with other people. It's so simple and so true and so profound that I just don't know what else to say about it. It's my new religion - it's all I need.
Love Serve Uplift
You can change the world, make a world of difference, with your love and kindness.