I allowed myself 15 minutes to wander aimlessly in the biography section of the library. Shelf after shelf of, "naaaaaaah". Finally, a glimmer of hope: Seeking Englightenment... Hat by Hat (A skeptic's path to religion)
I think I broke out in a squeal before I could contain it!
Allow me to quote from the chapter on "turning the other cheek":
"A rude driver cutting me off in traffic made me bitter. Striking back, I'd snap at a slow salesgirl and watch her turn sullent and angry, ready to pass the ugliness on to her husband, her child, the next customer. As I watched this process unfold again and again, pieces of an new/old concept began to appear on the edges of my mind.
...turning the other cheek, taking the hit, absorbing it, not striking back with your body or your spirit, effectively says, "The violence stops here, with me. I take it. I hold it. This stream of hate will flow no farther."
And from the chapter on "prayer":
"Accepting that the material world runs itself and God is of the spirit --a spirit that dwells in and acts through living things -- the question of why God lets bad things happen to good people even when we expressly ask Him not to became moot.
Things of the world are by, for, and of the world. Those of us in the world, coupled with the laws of physics and meterology, make things happen. We build and destroy. We grant wishes and smash dreams. God may watch, may even be interested for all we know, but the corporeal stuff of life - money, cancer, food, shelter, skiing -- doesn't seem to be His bailiwick. Near as I can tell, He pretty much leaves this stuff to us.
He is the realm of the spirit.
Now I pray for things OF the spirit: compassion, strength, guidance. I pray for the spirit to sustain me when the world sucks and to grace me with humility and generosity when I hit a winning streak."
I was just so excited -- that made sense to me. Something actually made sense that didn't wind up causing me yet more doubt! What a relief that was.