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I grew up in a spiritual house. We discussed the facets of reincarnation and guardian angels and the possibility of communicating with an all-loving power; but we didn’t discuss God. He was a mysterious power, and something my childhood self quickly began associating with dark rooms, hard pews, and overwhelming incense, as my only exposure to “traditional God” was through visits to church when my grandparents came to town.

Adolescence brought spirituality in the form of poetry and verse. Literature was my love and Savior. I lingered in the pages of books as though they were a higher being communicating truth to me.

On a trip to Europe in high school, I felt so compelled by the life and virtue that oozed from old European cathedral walls that I quite seriously considered never returning home, and becoming part of the church. I felt so strongly called to those places: the tall-ceiling cathedrals, whose stone walls wrapped me in warmth and silence.

But I did return home.

And I entered a spiritual-less twenties, and dated a boy for six long years who was analytical and Earthly, and far from religious: a boy who taught me to be practical, one whose view of the world was very much black and white, mathematical. There was little room for literature, romance, or spirituality. There was even less room for cathedrals or God.

The demise of our relationship, and all that followed in the next four years, was a perfect opportunity to reach for the spiritual guidance that I had spent my early adulthood avoiding. But it doesn’t always work that way: after years of Godlessness, sharing a life with a boy who mocked those who believed, I felt endlessly uncomfortable in the presence of those who so wholeheartedly and truthfully followed the word of God.

God is uncomfortable to me. Even the thought of others reading these words makes me feel uneasy. As though my desire to know God brings me shame. Though there is something in the teachings, and the warmth of a sermon, that beckons to me. There is something that I long to return to, a spiritual awareness that I spent so many years burying deep within me.

I was not raised to look to God. My family does not speak of God. He is a non-entity in family gatherings.

But now, as a mother, and in a new decade, I am beginning to question how to find Him.

Or at least, I am beginning to wonder how to find that beckoning calm and peace I felt sitting in well-worn pews, in the cathedrals of old.

Perhaps now God can stop being forbidden.

Isa Down

Isa is a writer & artist living at the base of the Rocky Mountains. She began writing essays on motherhood after becoming a single parent and realizing the importance of having a village to help raise children. In her spare time, you can find her creating art, running after her toddler, and studying.  Follow her on Facebook and on Instagram.

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