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Tuesday, May 31

God Bless The Child

by Hero With A Thousand Faces

“Momma may have, poppa may have, but God bless the child that's got his own...”- lyrics from God Bless the Child by Billy Holiday

Billy Holiday’s sentiment shared in her rendition of God Bless the Child is an anthem for independence. The origins of these lyrics allegedly stem from an argument a then struggling Billy Holiday had with her parents after they declined to loan her money. Holiday laments that it doesn’t matter how well off your mom or dad might be; real financial security comes when a person has his or her own assets.

Solid advice. However, these lyrics take on a slightly different meaning for me. I interpreted them in a way that leans more towards spiritual maturity and independence. As I reflect on my own spiritual journey, I recognize how the theme of these lyrics is interwoven throughout it.

I was raised in the South and followed the traditional Southern Baptist Christian narrative. And like many denominations and religious bodies, many Baptists claim sole legitimacy on truths about God and living. Even as a child, I felt a bit uneasy with religious figures who stood on blind faith and operated under the notion that their religion or God was above all others. I felt, and still feel, compelled to seek knowledge and truth using a balance of openness, humility, and critical thinking. My mind and heart reason that geography, where people live, has a bigger impact on their chosen religious practices than any other factor. With this line of thinking, I could make the argument that had I been born in Orissa, India, I may have grown to become a pious Hindu. If I were born in Guadalajara, Mexico, I may have grown up practicing Catholicism.

True spiritual growth occurs in our life’s journey when we come to undeniable personal understandings of our beliefs and principles. This personal understanding is attuned with our true selves and resonates in our soul. This level of understanding is usually acquired when our souls go through the hero journey. A hero journey is the age old story of one facing challenging times and situations that thrust the hero into the pits of his or her soul. The reward is true possession of that soul. It is a journey open to all and different for all.

As Billie Holiday reminds us, “God bless the child that’s got his own...” So how do you go about cultivating your own spiritual understanding?

Listen. When something resonates with your soul, there is often an “amen” affirmation that takes place within. I believe this is the higher self harmonizing with the seemingly contradictory elements and variables of the worldly self. Listen for it, acknowledge and build from it.

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