'Cause I Gotta Have Faith
When I was a little girl, my mom bribed me with donuts to get me to go to church every other Sunday. I would usually spend the hour drawing pictures to give to the reverend, so not much sunk in. To this day I can't remember many stories beyond the the whole Jesus is the son of God thing. But what I do recall is the overall message: be a good person. That was pretty much it, at least that was the message in the old-fashioned Methodist church my mom dragged me to.
Years later, as a slightly rebellious and very depressed teenager, I gave up on the idea of God altogether. It seemed so ridiculous. So you're telling me there's this bearded man in the sky who arbitrarily saves people while letting others die? Oh, and he can see your every move? Not creepy at all to a 14-year old girl...Plus, add in the fact that I thought many religions advocate excluding people or harming them in the name of God? Sign me up! (insert sarcastic teenager voice here)
My agnostic attitude continued into my 20s. I visited a few new-age churches but the whole raising your hands in the air while listening to Christian rock was not my jam. I met a few really sweet people who tried to "save" me also, which only dissuaded me more. Looking back, I can see that my faith-less attitude was more a reflection of the anger I had from unresolved painful childhood experiences. I didn't have faith because all I could see was my own unhappy perspective.
One day, I had a friend explain me that spirituality isn't the same as religion. You can be spiritual without going to church every week or praying. That spoke to me. At the same time, I was getting tired of feeling lost in my life. I felt like I could never trust myself and the past still weighed heavily on my soul. I kept doing things that I didn't want to, that hurt others, all because I didn't really trust (or love) who I was. I was spiritually bankrupt.
Today, I have realized that for me, I need to believe in something more. That there is a force out there that has my back, that is guiding me, that makes me feel less alone. I think I need this because I've always felt lonely as an introvert and a shy person. But maybe I'm not really alone. Maybe there is something out there. And maybe there isn't. No one really knows until death comes knocking at your door.
Recently, I went through a scary personal experience that left me searching anywhere and everywhere for hope. I craved relief from the pain. So I started praying and went back to church. Only this time, I paid attention. I got the same message (be a good person), but what really stuck with me was how I felt: better. Maybe that's all God is: something to help us appreciate the good things in life and feel comfort during the bad ones. That is what God is for me. It could be (and probably is) something different for you. And that's okay. That's what makes us all unique.
At 30 years old, I will continue to attend church and raise my soon-to-be-born son with a faith. But when he's old enough to understand things for himself, he may choose something completely different. And that is totally fine and 100% up to him. But I will continue the donut tradition. That's a non-negotiable.