"Am I?" A musing on spirituality

I am particularly in love, lately, with these lyrics of a song from a new album of Gungor’s, which is sort of post-rock/indie/alternative band that makes Christian sacred music, called “Am I?” (found on iTunes here.)

“Am I a spirit? Am I the chaos? Am I the lie? Am I alright? Am I loved? Am I an alien? Am I a sight? Am I alright? Am I a dream? Am I a memory? Am I awake? Am I ok? Am I the stars? And am I infinite? Am I a mist? Will I be missed? Am I am I am I am I Am I am I am I am I? Are you there? Are you listening? Are you anything?”

The lyrics are mesmerizing; the music is mesmerizing. I have listened to this one song a lot, and the questions it asks still echo in my bones for what they are: fundamental questions that take nothing for granted. Asking these questions, and merely sitting with them, is very mindful. The questions conjure up images for me, and this song’s musical treatment of the questions are incredibly evocative.

For me it’s as if the asking of these questions puts me in a place God wants me to dwell. Certainly not constantly, but these questions carry with them a child-like curiosity. These questions turn me to wonder. I want to sing these questions while laying on my back looking up at the darkest night sky while its cold and as mysteriously quiet as undisturbed nature can be.

I don’t think I can offer up a definite description of Spirituality (nor do I feel credentialed to do so), but I know that it has something to do with awareness, curiosity, and child-like joy. Christian spirituality is a journey that seeks God, and there are many, many narrow paths to wander down on your way. I think some of the most full moments of my life have either involved questions, observations or deep laughter, but not necessarily answers, interpretations, or efficient conversation. If I had to think of spiritual growth as a Christian, then what is growing is my capacity to be curious, the depth of my awareness, and the extent to which I can find joy in all things. Spirituality gets to be a paradox like God’s Triunity (where God is both one and three persons) because spirituality is both infinitely complex and immanently simple.

Spiritual growth cannot occur in a vacuum. From infancy to now, all of us have learned from others and our environment how to see and take in what is around us. We are continuing to be instructed with how to process what is happening around us by our phones, by our friends, and by our children (or so I imagine). My experience on the Isle of Iona in Scotland has shaped the way I view my spiritual “path” to God. My interactions with spiritual directors does the same. I am coming to realize how all of my relationships have a spiritual component to them. I am finding my spirit in food, and I am finding it in the vastness of God's creation--from the transcendent to the mundane.

Some questions to consider:
What does being spiritual mean to you? What practices (they don’t have to be Christian) do you consider to spiritual? These practices can be a quiet sip of whisky (or whiskey!) by yourself, or being at a concert with tons of people. Is spirituality a “thing” or is it a lens, is it a place? Is it a relationship?

Finally, I want to revisit this Gungor song and share what I find most compelling about it. That refrain of "Am I, Am I, Am I?" That repeated question, when asked in the chorus, begins to sound both like a simultaneous question and a statement. Am I? Am I? Am I?  or I am, I am, I am! (Exodus 3:14) The brilliance of Gungor’s writing here, at least to me, is that God is right there in our asking. And that’s beautiful and amazing.


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