Two months after I was born, I was baptized. This was a very joyous moment in both my parents' lives. I mean, it was their first child together and I was being baptized in the church where they were married. The same church they sang 'For Bobbie, For Baby' in during their wedding, and consequently, years later, named me after that song.
As a young girl, my mom brought me to church almost every Sunday. I was baby Jesus in their play at Christmastime, and all the older adults loved pinching my cheeks. I was basically a poster child for a Lutheran child.
When I got old enough I began going to my mom's favorite summer camp: Lutheran Memorial Camp. My first year, it was only a couple of days, but after that, I wanted to go the full week. Camp was a lot of fun. We played games, swam, sang worship songs, took hikes, and even slept outside.
Sleeping outside was definitely my favorite part each and every year. Something about hearing all of nature, no matter how noisy it was in the summer, made me feel content. This is where I began to transition from strongly one religion to... many, I guess.
On some of those nights, we would tell our God stories. From year to year, campers told their story, but I never quite felt the same way about it. They all saw God in people around them: grandparents, friends, strangers.
But I saw my God, whatever that might be, in nature. Nature was where I felt content. I didn't feel connected unless I was with nature. God was still an important part, yes, but the power I felt from nature is what strengthened that passion.
During this time, my Dad converted from Christianity to Judaism. He's never been one that passionate about organized religion, but regardless, he felt that it aligned with his beliefs more. After he converted I began to learn about two religions, both Christianity and Judaism.
Some things in Judaism just made sense to me. The biggest thing to stand out was a lack of belief in hell. I have since discovered that this lack of belief doesn't apply in all cases, but for simplicity's sake, let's pretend it does. Anyway, if God loves all his people, as the only God I want to praise does, it makes no sense to me why anyone would go to hell (except maybe the devil). Jesus died for all peoples' sins, right? So why is hell an option anymore? I don't know, I'm no theological scholar, and I haven't even read the Bible in full, but still, it's something I question.
Anyway, having these two opposing religions from people I looked up to made my stance more blurry. Both seemed kind of right in their own ways.
I didn't know which was more right. Either way, I connected more with nature than I ever connected with words on a page. Those words never meant that much to me. Even as a child, the stories I was told in bible school were just that, stories. I knew they were meant to teach me lessons, but none of them felt real (maybe that was because they were VeggieTales, though).
During my late teens, I began to synthesize all these thoughts. I pulled away from religion and leaned into science. Still, when times got hard, nothing made me feel better than going outside and praying to whoever was listening.
In college, I took a religion course where I learned about this type of religion I had never heard of before called Sheilaism. Essentially, how we were taught is that it takes beliefs from many cultures and religions and puts them all together to create essentially your own personal religion.
This made the most sense to me. I don't know if I believe in God as many see him, but I do have faith in some higher power, whether that be scientific or otherwise. Also, I still feel more content when I am in nature and talk to some unknown and invisible being. But am I religious? Not really. I'm spiritual, though. I believe we all deserve second chances and I think if our God is who we say he is, that he would believe that as well.
Participating in Sheilaism means I don't quite know where I stand in religious situations. I do know a few things, though. Humans are one of the most beautiful creations this universe has made, only falling short of nature. In nature, I truly find God, whoever he is.