How many times have you heard the question asked “What’s the difference between Religion and Spirituality?” Or heard someone say, “I’m more spiritual than religious.” Well, what if Religion and Spirituality were real people? People you could actually meet, dine with, laugh with…question? What if they met up in a bar one Friday night…
The lounge was swanky. The DJ was just easing into the night with a few remixed throw-backs. The bar was impressive…at least 7 perfectly ordered, beautifully back-lit shelves of premium bottles, the star act being vodka. There were more than 70 different brands and blends…the highlight being the $3,000 a bottle Stoli Elit, Himalayan Edition.
They had agreed to meet at 10pm, but as was his nature, Spirituality arrived early. He came strolling through the double doors sporting his favorite WWJD t-shirt, dark jeans, crème loafers, and what he called his ‘chick-magnet’…a light, cotton infinity scarf. He was a healthy older gentleman, not exactly ripped, but carried a nice, naturally toned physique.
He’d never been to this particular lounge before though it was one of Religion’s favorites. Despite being in unfamiliar surroundings, he casually tossed his hand to the bartender and ordered a Jack & Coke. Spiritually had an ease about him. Infinitely capable of feeling at home and fitting in where ever he managed to find himself. As the bartender slid his drink across the bar, Spirituality felt that familiar firm pat on his back. 10:05pm and Religion had arrived.
“The eternal early bird! You are consistent old man,” Religion joked.
Spirituality quipped back with a grin, “When we drive to the root of it all, isn’t everyone?”
They shared a laugh. Religion ordered his regular Long Island Iced tea and plopped down on the plush stool adjacent to his buddy. He was dressed impeccably, as always. Freshly pressed, linen pants, a fitted button down and two-tone wing tips. His diamond encrusted watch and rings sparkled even in the dimly lit lounge. Religion was incredibly fit and enjoyed showing off his form with his meticulously tailored wardrobe. He made very good money and wasn’t shy about letting people know it.
Despite the age difference, Spirituality being Religion’s senior, they got on quite well together. They had been friends as long as Religion could remember. Spirituality had become one of those friends he couldn’t even remember meeting. Though they had grown incredibly close over the years spending time filling up their respective little black books, recently their weekend hangouts had become few and far between. This particular night, Spirituality had reached out to meet up, letting Religion know he had exciting news to share.
“So how’s the action tonight?” Religion asked as he glanced around the bar.
“Opportunity abound,” Spiritually replied with a grin.
“That’s what I like to hear. So what’s up? To what do I owe finally being graced with your presence after so many weeks? What’s this big thing you have to tell me? And you better not be pregnant!” he said with a chuckle.
“Now wouldn’t THAT be a beautiful baby! No, that’s not it,” Spirituality replied. “So you know this girl I’ve been seeing?”
“Yes, ofcourse…the one who’s been taking up so much of your time lately?”
“Yes, that one. Well, she’s incredible. She’s like no one I’ve ever met. She has this thirst and fervor for Life that blows me away. And more than that…she challenges me.”
“Yes, in the best of ways. It’s like she’s this infinite sponge gracefully floating in the sea of Life.”
For the next few hours, Spirituality went on and on about how taken he had become by this woman. He regaled Religion with tales of their recent travels around the world…exploring new cultures, artifacts, and pleasures. He spoke about their conversations and how much they had learned about and from each other. And how much he had learned about himself because of it.
“You know, I’ve never heard you talk like this before,” Religion said sipping on a second Long Island.
“I know. Trust me, I know. I’ve never felt like this before. I am in. I’m all in.”
Spirituality slowly reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, black ring box which he placed on the bar.
“Whoa. Seriously?” Religion exclaimed.
Religion smiled and laughed heartily pulling his buddy in for a huge bear hug.
“That’s wonderful news!! Really, really great news!”
Spirituality could sense his genuine excitement and joy, but also a bit of something else.
“Yeah? You really think so?”
“Ofcourse! I’m so happy for you. You’re no spring chicken!” he laughed.
“Thanks. And listen, I recognize it means…less time spent together and…”
Religion cut him short, “Ofcourse, ofcourse. We joke with one another but I knew it was going to happen at some point. No worries. I’m really very happy for you. Really. I understand change is inevitable. And I still know where you live,” he said with a smile.
Religion had been in and out of relationships, some longer term than others. But whether long or short, they always fizzled. Moving from one relationship to the next, he often joked about being the eternal bridesmaid, never the bride. Though he genuinely loved every one, despite best efforts, his relationships never had staying power. He had secretly hoped he would find lasting love first between the two of them.
“And don’t go worrying that pretty head about me. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy,” Religion flaunted waving his glass around the bar, pointing from one girl to the next.
“Can I be honest?” Spirituality asked now recognizing what he had sensed was Religion’s insecurity.
“We both know you’re incapable of being anything but.”
“Knowing you…being so closely connected with you over the years…has been my greatest honor yet my greatest curse. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve consoled those you’re dating. Especially the ones that managed to get my phone number. And the conversations have all been eerily similar. They were all seeking advice on how to improve their relationship with you. They all wanted to be enough for you without losing themselves in the process.”
“Damn. Really? Why did you never tell me this before?”
“They came to me in confidence. But honestly, without breaking their trust, I tried. I really, really tried. And I KEEP trying.”
“Wow. Well, thank you…I guess.”
Spirituality placed his hand on Religion’s shoulder and said, “If I could offer only one piece of advice to you, it would be this: Let go. Let go of expectation. Let go of your ‘must haves’. Let go of this persistent need for a perfect mate. By spending all your time diligently drawing this picture of what you think perfection to be, true perfection will walk right past unseen.”
Religion smiled then paused for a moment, looking down at his half-empty glass.
He slowly looked up and said, “I love you.”
“I love you too. And listen, though our relationship may change a bit…please know I will always love you. I will always have your back. I will always be here whenever you need me.”
Spirituality got up from his stool, downing the final sips of his cocktail.
“Well, I better get going.”
“Yeah, yeah…the eternal early bird,” Religion said winking. “When are you going to pop the big question anyway?”
“Exactly when I’m supposed to.”
They laughed and hugged each other tightly before Spirituality made his way to the door.
Just as he was approaching the door, he heard Religion call out to him, “Hey! I can’t remember…what’s Lady Luck’s name again?”
A sweet smile snuck across his face as he shouted back, “Science.”
He waved goodbye and walked out with that same familiar ease that followed him everywhere.
No matter your Religion, no matter how spiritual you feel yourself to be…let go. Let go and allow perfection. Allow your true, perfect self to shine. Allow it to shine through questioning the mysteries of Life. Allow it to shine through listening to your intuition. Allow it to shine through loving unabashedly. Allow it to shine through being all in. Believe and know a life filled with love as your own and you’ll be sure to experience it.