I have been on this soul-seeking journey for a while now. I actually don’t understand how people just accept the surface of who we are. I have a harder time accepting our life just as it is. I don’t understand it when people do not question the purpose of humanity for what it all means. In fact, I find it harder to believe in our current state than my belief in the better one. How is it that one can simply just brush life off believing that we live to only endure continuing the same hellish cycle over and over and over again, being stagnant and never changing, driving ourselves to an even worse predicament?
Isn’t humanity more intelligent then that?
Are we really so self-centred that we cannot see out of our own self?
In my opinion, if that is truly who we are then I don’t want any part of it, and I suppose that is what lead me to where I am now.
As you know, I was suicidal when I was 25 years old. My anxieties got the best of me. I was completely overwhelmed with life as it was all too much of a burden for me to carry.
I wanted a simple life and one that I could be happy in, but what did I understand about what happiness is? I wanted my old, child-like naivete back — I did not want to be a grown-up!
That is when the questioning started…
Who is God?
By now, you know I started my journey in Christianity. Since I wasn’t raised religious, I thought Christianity was the only religion. I had no idea there were others. Heck, I didn’t even realize how complicated Christianity was. I didn’t realize there were so many different opinions in just that religion alone.
There I was again, even more overwhelmed, which lead me to my next question.
Who is Jesus?
So, I really liked Jesus. I loved him, actually. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if we were all like him?”
But, alas, again, things were getting even more complicated…
I finally decided to hear the story from an actual, real, live, Jew. What did they think about all this stuff anyway? Jesus was Jewish, so then, my next question became, “What is Jewish???”
I thought I better really check into this idea…
So, I went to Israel. I thought it would be good to get a first-hand view from the mouth of the very source.
Left to right: 1st Photo: There were a lot of rabbis congregating near the Mount of Olives as they were having a funeral for a famous rabbi who had just passed away. 2nd Photo: Garden of Gethsemane. The second time I went to Israel, I was given a clipping of this said to be 1000 years or older olive tree. Could it possibly have known Jesus? 3rd Photo: A mikvah (a pool of water) said to be a place where Jesus healed a paralyzed man. 4th Photo: Jesus tomb.
A year after my Christian tour, I decided to hear about the life of the Jews from the Jews. My Christian tour still left me with an empty belly.
Here I am as a IDF (Israel Defense Forces) volunteer.
During this time, I was already attending regular synagogue services as I began migrating my way away from Christianity. I felt that I was not growing anymore in Christianity, however, I was not willing to forget about my first love, Jesus.
I was beginning to fall in love with the Jews, who, much of the time, resembled Jesus to me.
But what about China?
Later, I decided to go to China. I fell in love with its culture as it revealed even more of the uniqueness of all of us to me.
I managed to be able to catch this photo of a couple of Buddhist monks, perhaps deep in contemplation, as our tour made a spiritual, temple stop.
So now, with COVID, travelling has been put on hold, however, that does not stop me from pursuing my interests in the beauty of the world and trying to unpack the mysteries of all of its unique perspectives that it holds.
Shannie Alvarez — A Gentile with a Jewish Heart