I’m searching for something – and I don’t know what it is. But I do know what it isn’t. It isn’t physical. Or psychological. It isn’t health or wealth or happiness – although they’re lovely and I’d like more please. I’m not looking for religion – I need something far more personal. The only word that makes sense to me, is spiritual.
1. Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
1.1 Having a relationship based on a profound level of mental or emotional communion.
1.2 (of a person) not concerned with material values or pursuits.
When I talk about God or religion or spirituality with my family they ask, Why? What for? And I don’t know how to answer. I just know there’s something in me that has become increasingly unsettled in the past few years. Most profoundly in that year I fell apart. Everything always comes back to that year. From there, everything changed. Sometimes worse. Sometimes better.
I have friends with strong faiths, and I’m often envious of the comfort they find in knowing their God. I wish it was easy to just believe. I’ve tried. I even googled, how to believe in God. But it isn’t that simple. I don’t even know if that’s what I’m looking for.
In the past week, I’ve traveled through Jordan, visiting breathtaking historical and biblical sites. It’s an amazing country and an incredible experience. It’s also seeringly hot – not my favourite temperature. Despite the constant need to reapply deodorant, I’ve loved this country and become really drawn to the religious histories – Judaism, Islam and Christianity. So many commonalities, yet politics most often plays on the differences.
Regardless of religious belief, the history is fascinating. The deep sense of spirituality within the biblical sites really touched me. I find so much peace sitting alone in ancient churches. I’ve taken every opportunity to sit and linger in each church. Listening. Peacefully.
Today was the last of our tours – The Baptism Site of Jesus Christ. Allegedly. Despite my husband’s cynical view of the historical accuracy, it was the most touching experience I’ve had here. Literally. I stood in the Jordan River and doused myself in cool water. It was 41c in the shade and we walked a kilometer to get there, so I was grateful for cool water to sprinkle over my arms and face and back, while dangling my feet in the shallow river. There were tourists and an armed guard nearby – but I felt very alone for those few moments. Very cool. And very peaceful. I didn’t hear the voice of God or feel inherently changed, but it was incredibly special. And I don’t know why.
As always happens with tours, we had obligatory stops at the gift shop before and after walking to the holy sites. It was blessedly air-conditioned, which was a relief as the heat was making me nauseous. I asked my beautiful new friend if she could loan me 2 dinar so I could buy a tiny little wooden cross. I don’t know why I want it. I’m not Christian, nor likely to convert any time soon. But I feel a sense of affinity with the origins of the Abrahamic religions.
My little anxiety relieving bunny, now has a tiny wooden cross hanging next to his silver key inscribed with Hope. He feels extra special. I hug him every night and say, I have Hope. Since leaving the clinic in March, it has been my mantra – I have Hope. When depression or anxiety drags me down, I have Hope.
I’m still searching for something. I don’t know what it is. But bathing my arms and legs in the Jordan River, has brought me one step closer.