"Uncle Patrick, are you a Buddhist?"
Even after answering "No" to my 14 year old nephew's guileless question, doing a blog post on the topic of religion didn't immediately occur to me. Considering my format of three or four brief paragraphs, in that moment, this forum just did not feel suitable. I also guessed his curiosity about why there were several CDs about Buddhism on the floor of my car would be satisfied by my one word answer.
"So, why do you like learning about Buddhism so much?"
His second penetrating question brought me somewhere else. Because of his age, and still thinking this would not go on long, I tried to strip my second answer to its essence. "I'm attracted to a spiritual belief that puts emphasis on living in the here and now". Then as the conversation deepened more, I realized something magical was occurring. Listening to carefully considered words coming out of my mouth, I was landing on some powerful insights about my 63 year religious evolution. But more importantly, nothing I said was at all sarcastic, dismissive or judgmental about the faith in which my nephew is being raised.
It's possible my epiphany will not resonate with many. Anyone whose faith is strong or those who struggle less than I with attempting to deconstruct other beliefs instead of building a positive case for your own belief, might well be saying right now "What's the big deal, Pat?" But as I processed that unexpected conversation, something stirred in me. The post itself waited until a little clarity about what I'd learned about religion emerged more fully. What was the last interaction you had that triggered something similar in you about this often untouchable subject?