I'm not really what you would call a God type person!
What I mean is, it is fairly hard for me to believe in a beardy bloke relaxing on his cloud, surveying all that he created with a slightly smug look on his face. Similarly, I could never buy into Jesus being the son of said beardy bloke having to be tortured and killed to save us.
Now it may interest you to know that I married a staunch Roman Catholic who is totally OK with the creation, loves the stories of the virgin birth, digs the whole Noah's ark thing. He goes to church every Sunday and prays and lights candles for his family and finds total peace during this precious hour every week.
For me that kind of peace is found on my yoga mat. I zone out of the stresses of life, I focus on my actions and my breath and weirdly love. The yoga studio is my church, my mat is my prayer book and I light my candles inside my body.
If I followed an organised religion I think it would have to be Buddhism. Very simply, you are worshipping the god within which to me makes complete sense.
However, this Sunday just gone I found myself in church!
I had been invited to see my oldest friend sing in a concert with her Rock Choir at the Holy Trinity Church in Guildford. Although churches freak me out a little, I do love a good sing song and so I got dolled up in my Sunday best (no hat!) and made the journey.
Thank Goodness the church wasn't a spooky one! It was a new building with high ceilings, glass doors, polished wooden floors and chairs...not a pew or a whiff of musty prayer books to behold!
I perched gingerly on the end of a row with 15 minutes or so to kill before the concert was to start.
What to do?
I whipped out my phone and texted my sister "Sunday morning and I am in church. What is wrong with this picture?!"
She replied "pretty sure its illegal to text in church. Put your phone away before the lightning strikes!"
So now what?
thumb twiddle, hair ruffle, nail bite...
And then... I came over all Liz Gilbert.
I actually found myself what can only be described as praying...eeeeekkkk!
Well, I like to think of it more as sending out some pleas into the universe in the hope that the mighty universe may offer up some answers.
Thank goodness the choir rolled in on time or I may have signed up to weekly bible study if I had been left any longer!
The choir was (yes I know its over used but its the best word I can think of) AMAZING!
They sang, and I quote form Madeleine's email:
"All over the World - the scary arms one
Take on Me – the scary turning one
Mr Blue Sky – the one where we all sing when we’re meant to be quiet one
Walking on Broken Glass – the rather good one
True Colours – the lovely one
Something inside so Strong – the bring a hankie one"
It was rousing and inspirational, thoroughly enjoyable and hopelessly emotional.
A bright eyed, predominately female group of 50 or so singing their hearts while madly trying to step touch in time to the music and make their fantastically charismatic choir master proud.
Of course, I cried like a girl from beginning to end. The song choice was fantastic, the enthusiasm was boundless and the audience was completely enthralled.
The weirdest bit for me and the reason why I blubbed (even through Aha's hit song "Take on Me") was because, as if by magic, each song seemed to hold an answer to the big asks I sent out into the universe a few moments earlier.
By the time we got to "Something Inside so Strong" I had to slide my sunglasses over my eyes to shield my embarrassment. I mean a pink blotchy tear stained face is not a good accessory to Sunday Best!
I left church feeling uplifted and bouncy, and to tell you the truth a little changed.
Maybe I should talk to the universe more often.
Or maybe I should just spend a little time each week not working, not chatting, not emailing, not doing yoga, but just sitting, contemplating, putting stuff out there, and seeing what I get back.
It's worth a try isn't it?!