Birthday Party: the spiritual side
We gave a surprise birthday party for a friend Saturday night. I was the event planner. I rented a bowling alley and pool hall. Everything went well, and people seemed to have had fun. They complimented me on helping put the event together. Yesterday, I tried to put the evening into perspective.
I enjoyed being the event planner as it was a labor of love of sorts. Up until the past week, I had a crush on the person whom we gave the party for, which in a way is odd, since I have known her for years, and until a few years ago had no such feeling. The party broke the spell and the crush. That is a good thing.
You may recall a short post I made about finally realizing that crushes are not good things either for the person who has the crush or its recipient. I have come to see a crush as a fantasy that makes a person merely an object of desire. I suppose that can be innocent and nontoxic, but when the person is a friend you have known for a long time, there is something cheap and tawdry about it.
What remains is the love of a good friend, someone I admire in many ways. However, describing and defining what that love amounts to is a new question. I frankly do not have the inclination or energy to work through it as a priority. I am just relieved to have escaped a rank piece of silliness on my part.
I now view the birthday in a more spiritual light, for it was a labor of love with no motives beyond wanting my friend to have a very special evening with her friends and family. I do feel good about myself for having helped move it along, but that is merely subsidiary.
I also mentioned in a previous post that I lacked spirituality and felt somewhat impoverished by it. I am a skeptic so religious spirituality is of no use to me. I fortunately discovered Robert C. Solomon’s short book, Spirituality for the Skeptic. The book impressed me. Solomon, who died earlier this year, calls spirituality the thoughtful love of life. He claims the foundations of spirituality are love, reverence, and trust. Solomon’s spirituality draws from Hegel, Nietzsche, and existentialism.
Solomon’s view of spirituality does not run counter to science or religion. He states the case for how they are not only compatible, but also enhance each other. That seems an important attempt given the war between religious fundamentalism and science. The religious who see humanism as the great evil in the world would do well to reflect on what Solomon has to say. Bigoted attitudes toward skeptics does not seem spiritual to me. Authoritarian attempts to force religious belief may create appropriate behaviors at times, but it never changes a single heart or mind. It seems banal to say it.
The passionate love of life seems a more reliable motive than dogmatic beliefs, whether it is in the personal sphere or the public sphere. We should not deny spirituality to anyone.