Week 22: Keep the faith
Last September, I went church-hunting. For me, that meant going to a choir rehearsal on Thursday and then a service on Sunday. I did that with four different churches and then settled on Brentwood Presbyterian Church.
I love it.
I chose BPC firstly for a musical outlet. It’s a great way to be around music and musical people, and it keeps me singing on a regular basis. I like religion grounded in music — varied, quality music — and BPC absolutely fits the bill (a separate story is how much I adore the director). But I also chose this church for its style and people (another separate story: My elderly British friend, Philippa) and atmosphere, and I have continued to love all those things.
This Sunday was “Choir Sunday,” aka the final Sunday before the choir takes a break for the summer. As such, it was a celebration of the year in music. We revisited many of the highlights from the past nine months, which gave the congregation and choir (including me) a great opportunity to reflect on everything we sang and learned and experienced this year.
I don’t consider myself a very religious person. I enjoy the experience of church and prayer, but I don’t believe everything, and sometimes I don’t know what I believe. Nonetheless, going to church is a weekly source of fulfillment for my mind, heart and soul.
My years of going to church have also made me realize something — well, two things. Those would be two qualities a person adopts through regular churchgoing, two qualities incredibly valuable for any human being to possess.
First, church teaches you humility. Although some see faith as a maybe cowardly way of finding comfort, I argue it is just the opposite. Faith teaches you that you aren’t in complete control of your path and your life, and thus, you don’t get all the credit. Faith humbles you because you don’t get to make all the decisions and you don’t get all the praise. You have to check yourself and realize it’s not all about or due to or done by you. You can’t get a big head because you aren’t alone in running the show.
Secondly, and concurrently, church teaches you gratitude. You can’t make this all happen on your own, and so you have reason to be thankful. Faith teaches you to be grateful for all the gifts and blessings, all the things that make the grass in your life green. It teaches you to appreciate the positives, big and small, and look for the silver lining of the negatives. Faith teaches you to be thankful for the joys you are fortunate enough to experience and the lessons you are taught through hardships.
This is a big part of why I will always go to church, why it is important to me to be with someone with a sense of faith and why I will raise my children in a church community: Being humble and being grateful is always, under any circumstances, a positive thing.
Just through those two factors alone, I am a much better person through going to church and listening and thinking about what I hear. Even with my doubts, church keeps me grounded and helps keep my life in perspective.
Humility and gratitude. Who wouldn’t say hallelujah for those?
Currently reading: Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
Currently watching: How I Met Your Mother, season 5
Song of the week: Charlie Puth’s “Marvin Gaye”
Plans for the weekend: Mostly just relaxing, running errands and hitting the beach, after a busy week of going home and then hosting a college friend.