I was raised in a reform Jewish household. Very very reform, to the point where I'd almost say we were more culturally Jewish then anything else. In college I explored Judaism in a lot more depth, through Hillel and Chabbad and my circle of friends. I explored Religion, too, which is part of what I feel college is all about, trying different things on for size and seeing what fits comfortably and what feels as though it's going to strangle you.
I think what stands out to me most about college was my friendship with a girl named Michele (barefoot Michelle!) and her view on religion. She is easily the most religious person I have ever known, but she was also the most open minded and most loving individual too. She was part of the Intervarsity Christian club, and I met her because she literally always went barefoot and (the first two times I met her) she was also carrying a Pogo Stick, just incase she ever felt like Pogoing around. I'm not making this a post about Michelle, but she literally changed my view of the world. Every time I see one of those "question authority" stickers or posts, I think of her. She's the type of person who hated sleeping in a bed, so she hung a hammock from the ceiling. She went to more Hillel events then I did, because she liked learning about other religions. She took Hebrew as a language and liked it so much, I took it as a language too.
Everything I learned from Michelle is something I still treasure to this day--don't take things at face value; if it doesn't hurt you or someone else, it's none of your business; everyone just wants to live their own lives; singing is fun, especially when you do it at the top of your lungs; live for today because who knows about tomorrow. She went to college for 5 years and, aside from the degree, I think the thing Michelle walked away from college with that she treasured the most was a scuba certification, to teach scuba.
I'm not in touch with her anymore, which makes sense in my head because she taught me what I needed to know, what I need to know. I can see her literally going all over the world (she isn't big on personal possessions or having a home) and teaching scuba wherever the weather and water takes her. It makes me happy, to think of her like that.
But how does this tie into religion? It ties into religion because over the past 6 years, since I graduated college and have since gone back, my views on my own religion have gradually changed. I was sitting at work the other day, talking to my bosses boss, who is this big time Buddhist/Eastern Religion philosophy guy, and I was saying that I think everything happens for a reason. And, well, somehow over the past 28 years, that has gone from being something my mom says occasionally to something I firmly believe in with all my heart. And Edward, my bosses boss, looked at me and just had this look on his face that I can't describe, and he said that he was really happy he hadn't gone home early as he'd been planning too, because talking to me changed his entire day; it hadn't been a good one, filled with stressful budget meetings, and just hearing someone sound happy about things, and genuinely want other people to be happy too--it just lifted his whole mood.
So, I'm not sure if that is a religion, or just Karma, or G-d, but it's what I believe, for me. I'm not sure if other people have had this happen to them or not, or if its part of your daily life. But everything I do, the tiny things and the big things and everything in between (kind of like meeting Michelle, amongst other people) means something, changing something, makes the day better.
My mom says that I'm the most happy person she knows, because I don't look at what I want or what I don't have, that I just kind of exist and let other people exist without judging them (too much--dude, my stat's teacher? I *REALLY* want to turn her into 'what not to wear' and let Stacy and Clinton deal with her because NOBODY should be witness to that). But that's only one thing in the grand scheme of everything. I dunno.
Now, it's 7 am and I have to shower and get dressed, because The Avengers is playing at 9 am and I will be there! EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT! WOOOOOOT!