It sounds hokey, but it happened to me. Something I believed in with the depth of more core turned out to be something of a charade. Eventually it broke into very defined and separated pieces. I keep trying to find a metaphor to describe it but I can't seem to find one that fits properly. Maybe it sounds like I am talking about a marriage. A friendship. But I am not. It was both of those and them some. It was the family with which I prayed.
It's not something I talk about a lot. I am not one of those people who readily shares my spiritual leanings but this has been a huge deal for me over the past couple of years. Even now I am scared to publicly admit this, but it was, for all intents and purposes in a cult for a number of years.
If you're not familiar with cults, you can click the link above. I had no idea that was what I was a part of while I was in it. I considered myself lucky to be a part of something so real, so outside of anything I had ever been a part of, what I truly believed to be a real family. For a while, it was.
It's too much to write here but I think it's an important to mention. Partly because I can't stop thinking about it. I learned so much from this experience and not all of it was bad. In fact, much of it was amazing, enlightening, beautiful, even beyond words. The cautionary tale I will leave you with however, is to never forget these immortal words:
To Thine Own Self Be True.
My own path went astray when I let this culture I was immersed in decide things for me that I knew in my heart were my own choices to make. Of course it was not as simple as all that. The web was thick but I take responsibility for my part.
The way of spirituality I have found while there and after is personal and not something for the internet. However, my heart still falls in line with what I learned while amidst that strange and sometimes beautiful family. Now, instead of relying on protocol and someone walking me along, I go there myself with songs I sing with my little man. Songs I learned from them. I remember who taught them to me which song and I hold them dear to my heart, even after all the tears, grief and sadness.
I think that's what true spirituality is about, gratitude. And forgiveness. And of course, love.
It should be that simple, right? However, I am no automaton. My heart was broken and like a collapsed marriage or friendship, there is a vacancy where this family once lived within me. Like a past breakup, there is residual reminders. Photographs, gifted books, questions from my son.
So maybe the spiritual way to "deal" with this is to cry, to let myself be hollowed out by emotion. Then I can wrap myself in the blankets of faith that keep me warm and sing my son a few songs before bed.
Also: RIP Auntie Jo. I think about you every day and am grateful for every day I got to spend with you.