Belief


I’m up and about this morning and have just returned from delivering my beautiful three-year old to Kindergarten. On the way she called me “cute” which, of course, made me smile. We’ve had a lovely relaxed morning. Lots of time for cuddles, singing and just enjoying each others company.

Now I’m sitting here and I have tears at the back of my eyes.

You may think it’s because I miss her. But you’d be wrong. I’m quite aware that we’ll be together again in a couple of hours and I’m happy, to have a bit of time to myself. Time for me, is definitely one of my needs.

The issue for me is, actually, a recurring theme that haunts me, and I’m not exaggerating, when I tell you, it affects almost every day of my life.

Death.

My death, the death of one of my children. The death of my husband. Those are the ones that trouble me most.

But I also concern myself with the death of my friends. All of those I care about, in fact.

There are, many details that frighten me. For example:

  • The fact I have no real control over my death or that of my loved ones. I do drive carefully and avoid dangerous situations, I eat fruit and veg, I don’t smoke and use sun block etc. But I know that if a mad gunman entered the school, or a drunk drove into me, or one of us became seriously ill, we have no real ability to choose our fate.
  • It’s definite. It will happen. To me. To you. To all of us. Nothing is more sure. There is no avoidance.
  • I dread the pain. The hurt of losing someone I love and knowing for the rest of my days, they will not be there. That they are gone. Only a memory. Never again to witness the beauties life reveals to us. Never again to support. Never again to feel. Never again to be seen or held.
  • I fear living. Living without a person who meant so much to me.

It is at this point that I come to belief. I think the luckiest people in the world are those who have true belief. Those who believe in some kind of heaven, where they’ll, at some point, meet their loved ones once again.

If I had belief, I think I would still feel sad about leaving this life or something happening to one of us, but underneath, I’d have a feeling of, ‘I’ll see you later’, and my life would just be a much simpler existence.

As you’ve no doubt gathered, I don’t have any particular belief. I have friends from different faiths and backgrounds, and it has to be said, I am really happy for them, that their mind is clear. Because mine is, to be frank, a mess.

I lost my father, aged seven. A very traumatic experience. I cried the day he died and a stranger came to me and said; “Don’t cry in front of your mother, you don’t want to make her sad do you?” So I stopped crying. I didn’t cry again in front of my mum, or anyone else for that matter, because I didn’t want to make people sad. My mum never mentioned my dad again.

One day he was there and the next he was gone.

Since then, I have had many experiences of death, so of course losing people is a very real experience for me.

My parents were never church going people but, actually, as a young child I attended Sunday School with friends regularly. I loved it! First we’d go into church and listen to the minister and sing. Then into the hall and play games, draw pictures and listen to stories. I found it a very happy place to be. People always seemed to be smiling and helping each other. Our young minster, truly a man of the seventies, had longish hair and a big beard and he played the guitar.

I prayed a lot as a youngster and I think, truthfully that is where I lost my faith. Not because I asked for a dog and didn’t receive one. No. But because heading toward puberty, I realised, that my true faith in God stemmed from fear. I wanted to see my father again. I wanted to be protected from nuclear war. On death I wanted to be safe and enter heaven. That was what my God was for. And I grasped that I used God to fulfil my needs in life. I felt, in my young, inexperienced way, like a bad person. So I let go of God. And tried to be by myself.

Over the many years that have since followed, I have often come back to this obstacle. That believing in God, is just something that makes me feel safe. And is therefore not a true belief.

As a mature student, I at some point studied some philosophy. One of the themes taught advertised itself as ‘The existence of God’. Truthfully, I hoped for either a proof of his existence or at least a doubt of his non-existence. But neither transpired. The only slight indication of possibility described the philosophers God. That is, the ‘force’ that caused the very initial reaction to bring about the universe. On being informed of this I felt a warmth inside, however soon to be dashed by our lecturers comment, that that ‘force’ would most likely be destroyed by now. Throughout the course, the lecturer revealed himself to be a dedicated atheist. Which would, of course, further explain his teachings.

I am not an atheist. Rather an agnostic. I don’t know if there is a God and I have not been able to figure out how to find out. But I would really like there to be a God and a heaven too. I could go to a minister and try to have him or her convince me of their faith. To help me sleep at night. And just enjoy my life. But that would truthfully be their belief and not mine.

I have some foundations though. I think true faith can only be found deep inside oneself. And inside myself I am convinced that if there is a God, he is good. My children have never been baptised and I’m absolutely sure that if there is a God and a heaven they would be accepted there with open arms. As would I and my husband. And every person from every belief. From every race. In my mind it’s absolutely clear that God would be good and therefore unable to discriminate.

That deficiency is only present in us humans.

Are you religious? If not, or if you’re an unsure like me, how do you reconcile your fate?

4 thoughts on “Belief”

  1. What is faith? To me, faith is believing with no way of really knowing or having that sort of proof we all tend to demand. I get the sense from your post that you were introduced to religion as a child and came away unsatisfied. That happens. Not everyone that goes into the ministry is really suited for the job. Also, some may be great at it and still not come across right for some people. I would recommend you consider visiting various churches in your area and see if one appeals to your family. Good luck.

    1. Thank you for commenting.

      Although I adored our first minster, I subsequently moved around and tried different churches. It would be true to say that none of them really satisfied me.

      Thanks also for your advice.

  2. I love your writing, Sarah. Never ceases to strike a chord. I have faith and have once been “right into it”. But I have grown to reject the man- made traditions surrounding Christianity: the religious stuff. I believe in God and in a man called Jesus who lived and served in God’s name.

    I came to faith later in life, many years after having sleepless teenage nights wondering what happens when the lights go out for good. I guess the question of what happens when our very existence ceases was a welcome distraction from why girls didn’t fancy me! Faith, however, hasn’t given me any answers either. My brain understands exactly why mankind needs an “afterlife” and I can’t quite reconcile the Biblical notion of “many rooms in my Father’s house”.

    What I do believe tho is that if God truly loves all of us, why would He exclude those WE love from any heaven? Would he deprive our children of us, or us of them because of belief or “sin”? If He truly is a God of love then we all should be okay! I don’t really want to test my theory just yet tho’ :o)

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