Explaining Jesus is never a problem for me, because it’s easy – Jesus is love. I love Love.
Explaining religion, specifically Christianity, isn’t as easy. To me religion has always been rules, dress codes, and people being praised for closed eyes and raised hands. Writing this blog post has been increasingly difficult as I battle to let go of the sour taste in my mouth Private Christian School has left and increasingly discover who Jesus is in contrast with what I was told religion was.
I was told Jesus didn’t like shoulders – so keep them covered. Leggings would make a man’s mind wander, so they didn’t count as pants. I was taught fear and respect were the same thing. I was taught the church looked like perfection, smiles and lunch afterwards. Literal awards for people who best displayed the character of Paul, John and Jesus. Pleasing your husband meant you couldn’t be a leader – principals and presidents should be men. I was taught a woman could be “damaged goods”. In all of my time in school, nobody ever taught me who Jesus was. I only ever learned what Christianity was.
Jesus is love. He’s equal parts justice and patience. He is compassionate and giving. He is every character equally. But the name of Jesus can be interchanged with the word “love”. Jesus is love.
I don’t like to align with denomination or Christian religion, because it was through religion I discovered depression and what it felt like to be at my lowest point. It was when I was quickly asked “what was I wearing?” instead of being told “this was wrong and I will protect you”. It was by religion I was laughed at. It was by religion I slept all the time and it was by religion I got lost. It was religion that sat with me in an office and told me coldly I should move on.
It was by love I found out how to get out of that depression. It was by love I learned how to love myself again. It was by love I show my shoulders and it is by love that I laughed again.
As someone who was broken by religion, but saved through Love I want to extend all of my positive vibes to people who were the same as me. People who were laughed at, people who were forgotten about and people hurt by religion – Love will find you. Whether that’s in kisses, or the ocean or something else. Love finds you.
Don’t give up yet. Do what you need to do but don’t give up. And just love everyone until eventually love loves you back.
*To clarify, not everything that came out of the school was negative. I met my best friend there, I found my passion for English and writing, and I experienced Jesus’ love through many different students and teachers. I had the best foundation from kindergarten to grade six and although I do struggle with it and disassociate myself from it, there is always beauty in the broken – which extends mostly to people, but also to schools.