I bought my first piece of jewelry (left) representing my religion and it came in the mail yesterday. I was pretty excited because I’ve been eying this piece for a few months before I finally found the courage to purchase it. It’s been a long time since I’ve bought anything to symbolize my faith, let alone jewelry. Unless you count the evolve fish I used to put on my car to loudly proclaim my steady faith in evolution.
I really like this necklace. Not only does it have the UU flaming chalice in the center, but a recognizable symbol for each of the major world religions–Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism–forms a circle around the chalice. I feel this emblem best symbolizes my liberal belief that all religions are attempting to answer the same enduring questions of humankind, the why, where, how, when of existence. My faith believes in finding your own spiritual path through all of the collective wisdom of humanity and it is this part of my faith that I hold dear because it does not limit me to the strict interpretations of a single dogma, but allows me to appreciate the treasures found within all of the religions. I admit that I have a special affinity to eastern mysticism, particularly Buddhism, Taoism, and Gnostic Christianity. My spirituality tends more towards finding God within yourself rather than externally.
I was like an excited child on Christmas last night, wearing the new necklace on around my neck as I went about my evening duties of making dinner and cleaning up around the house. I felt a little empowered to have some way to express my new faith in a subtle but meaningful way. It’s not that I’m probably going to go about wearing this necklace everywhere as most people do their crosses. More likely, I’ll just wear it to church sometimes and some other assorted UU events I attend. (In fact, I can’t really wear necklaces all the time due to my active lifestyle… they tend to get grimy and disintegrate rather quickly as a result.) I’m just excited, though, that I finally have something of my own to wear in my faith… I’ve watched my friends wear symbols of their faiths for the last several years and I admit I felt a bit empty because I had no faith that I could wholeheartedly accept. To me, the necklace represents letting go and allowing myself to open my mind again, and coming home, finally, to a faith that fits me.
As an ironic side note, I could not help but overlook the fact that the pendant on the necklace was made in China. Which seemed a little ironic to me, since UUism is always fighting for human rights. I would have thought the makers of this jewelry would have stuck to the homeland to prove a point instead of supporting a country that does not protect its workers with fair wages, compensation, and a safe work environment. I’m not worked up about it as some of my UU friends might be; it simply made me realize that we’re all human. We make mistakes and we don’t always follow through with our philosophies. Even I’ve almost broken down on occasion and bought something at Wal-Mart despite my strict boycott. Not in a long, long time, though.
Even UUs aren’t perfect.