My Spirit Life Journey

We are all on a spiritual journey, whether we realize it or not. I’ve come to realize that I have had a spiritual awareness from very early on in my life. My father was an avowed atheist. My mother was a Catholic. My father agreed to raise us as Catholic when he married my mom. I remember my father dropping us off at church most Sundays. The church we attended was dark, cold and smelly. The music was outdated and I had a hard time keeping up with the liturgical sit/stand/kneel process. I don’t have very many memories of that season other than my first communion. I remember that day well. My mom took me in my nice new clothes and we bought my first rosary and prayer book. As I made my first communion I felt a presence that I had never known before. God was there! That memory would carry me through many difficulties in the days ahead.

We stopped attending church after my first communion due to an argument between my mother and the parish priest over finances. My father wouldn’t agree to giving ten percent of his income to the church. We stopped attending church after that disagreement. It would be many years before I would attend a church for something other than a wedding or a funeral. My church then became the beautiful places that nature provided close to home. I remember long walks in fields, singing to God when I was lonely. God was real to me, but I didn’t fully understand who God was.

My spiritual journey made many twists and turns. I ventured into paranormal spirituality, visiting psychics, attending seances, speaking with and channeling the dead. I was VERY aware of a spiritual realm. However, none of these experiences satisfied the deep longing of my soul. I still felt empty, alone and afraid.

I then began to study Buddhism and Hinduism and various New Age teachings. I did yoga and began the practice of transcendental meditation. I had profound spiritual experiences but, once again, it still left me empty in the end. None of it met the deep longing and cry of my heart.

I then met a Christian woman at my workplace. Up until this point I had no love for Christians. I was a partying gay man who saw Christians as judgmental and hypocritical. Rosie was different. She showed me love and compassion. She quietly and persistently shared her faith with me in small measures. I asked questions and she gave me solid answers. But more than the answered questions, her love for me was what drew me to Christianity and the Christ this religion was named for. One day I invited myself to church with Rosie and her family, and at the end of the service, I crossed over from unbelief to belief in a risen Christ. Everything became new. But the process of submitting each area of my life to Christ took many years and continues to this day.

The Spirit Life section of this blog will talk about my journey and the journeys of others as they follow the way of Christ. I will talk frankly and honestly about the difficulties and the joys of following Christ. I will invite discussion of thoughts, beliefs and the theology of spirituality. I hope you’ll not just read, but that you would share with me and with others through the comment section of the blog.

About the author

Tom Cole

Tom Cole and his wife, Donna, currently live in Greenville, South Carolina and together direct Pure Heart Ministries International and Hope Grows Farm and Restoration Center. Tom is an avid foodie, a certified cheesemaker, an amateur cured meat maker, a lover of all things social and political, a voracious reader and a lover of growing and making food in a natural way!

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