It’s about the Road

November 9, 2009

Just when you thought I had given up meditating and rug hooking and taken a job as a telemarketer, I am back. Just when I thought I was through with funerals for a while, I’m just getting back from another one. I should start a business as a professional mourner. But don’t worry, this post won’t be all tears and desperation. This is more about religion. Two great topics. Death and religion. Oh boy!

My aunt died last week. Wife of a maternal uncle. Two of her 6 kids and a daughter-in-law came up this summer to help us say good-bye to my own Pop. Now it was our turn to stand by them.

Ten years ago I never would have considered taking a 5 hour road trip, each way, with my Mom and sister, and to spend Earned Leave Time to do it. So much has changed. The trip, despite its reason, was a pleasure. My 11 year old nephew, David, went, too, perched in the back of my Element with my sister, and he was a great travel companion. My mother is so easy and peaceful now, post-stroke, avec meds. My sister and I have found an easy way to be together. I have grown up a lot. It’s about time… I’m 52!

The relatives are all Christians, ranging from fundamentalist to evangelical. I am a heathen. I feel lonely when they begin to talk about Jesus, assuming we are all on that page in our hymnals. I know from things that were said that I would be discounted or even ostracized if they knew what my inner world is about. When they cracked out their guitars and we sang hymns in four-part-harmony it was beautiful, and I loved singing the old songs, but it was disturbing listening to the words this time. They don’t make me angry any more. They just make me sad. They talk about being weak, being a sinner, being wretched. I’m not any of those things, and neither are they. I wanted to tell them they were all perfect already, but I didn’t know how to translate what I wanted to say into Christian. You’d think after a life time I would be bilingual, but there are ideas I don’t know how to translate.

I decided to practice mindfulness during the singing, during the words my brother spoke as the minister at the memorial service, when evening conversation briefly turned to how ridiculous atheists are. I had a little trouble during that and during some ethnic jokes that made me uncomfortable. It’s so easy to be self-righteous, and to forget that each person is what he is, and most of us are trying to be some version of good in the world we live in. When I was 18 I wrote a song with a chorus that say, “Living is the road and not the goal.” I’m not the first to say it, but I thought I knew it then. I know it a lot better now. We living people are all on some road, whether we choose to be there or not.

The balance I am looking for is how to become a better person while accepting those who haven’t come to the same conclusions as I.

One thing I’ve come to understand is that Christianity is admonitions about what not to do if you are to be a good Christian, and Buddhism is about what actions to take to become an increasingly better you. Buddhism is a behavioral practice. It’s a how-to religion… although in Christian terms it’s not a religion at all. It’s a way to live.

Christianity is very goal driven. Buddhism is decidedly not goal driven, with the most central concept being to live in this moment and to stop striving for moments that aren’t here yet or longing for moments that are already gone.

With meditation, when you give up striving and just let go, you often find answers that you didn’t find in hours and days and weeks and years of searching for an answer. If you just sit, the answers you need come to you. If they don’t, they probably aren’t answers you need.

And when you’re not sitting, all you have to do is be in the moment of with what you are doing. Do here. Do now.

When it all boils down to it, it comes down to

Do Better.
Love More.

Meditator Tot,


One Response to “It’s about the Road”

  1. Laurel Says:

    Hey kellie,

    It’s a loss to telemarketing but I’m glad you’re still writing about meditating etc. I so enjoy your thoughts, and often they come along at a time when they parallel something I’m pondering too. Finding a balance with people who strongly disagree is a big one for sure.


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