Content notice: this post is about religion, and it depicts my own experiences, opinions and beliefs.
I have been raised with the Bible. From as young as I can remember, we went to church, we prayed before we had dinner and I had to go to Sunday school. Some weekends I stayed over with my grandparents on the Saturday night, and went to church with them. Back then women and girls always had to wear a hat, and had to be dressed for church. I went to church and believed in God and the Bible because I was told to do so.
But, as I entered my early teens, some cracks started showing. Mom and Dad wouldn’t go to church, but drop us in front of the church for Sunday school and pick us up later again. At first I didn’t question it, but later I did, especially when the pastor asked why my parents weren’t in the church and I had to lie to him!
Pregnancy & the church
As I wrote in a recent post, I fell pregnant at the age of sixteen. Now, because we were members of the church, my father had to inform them, and an elder and a deacon came to visit us. I had to leave the room while they discussed my ‘condition’, and was called in later to hear their decision. I was informed that actually I should be expelled from church, but the elder would come to our house every other week and teach me what I would’ve been taught in Sunday school. Then, when my daughter was born, I would be allowed to baptize her, after I had done my confirmation of faith in front of the congregation.
So said, so done. My daughter was three months old when I stood in front of the congregation, alone, confirming my faith in God the one moment, and baptizing my daughter the next.
After that I was done with the church, as I found it a hypocrite bunch. I have been in churches after that, but mainly for weddings and funerals, or when I visited churches because I was interested in the architecture. Once or twice because I was ‘forced’ to go when in a relationship. Never again because I believed in God. There were just too many things in my younger years that I looked back on that didn’t add up, least of all being that those who frequently went to church, were all rotten in some or other way, with some exceptions of course.
There’s something out there
I do believe there is something out there; I just don’t believe it’s the God we read about in the Bible. I will not go into my reasons why I don’t believe this, and I don’t want anyone to try and change my mind. Believe me, it has been tried, and that is one of the reasons why I don’t discuss religion. I respect whatever someone believes, and I want them to respect that I do believe in something bigger than humankind. I don’t try to convince them that what I believe is something they should too, and I don’t want them to do that to me.
Like I said, I do believe there is something out there. Something that watches over us. Whether it’s a god in the way any holy book tells us, or whether it’s the collective goodness of people who really care for their fellow men, I don’t know, but I feel it’s there. When you do good, good will be done upon you.
In times of need…
In times of need I pray…
Yes. That seems to erase all I have said before, right? Do I pray to God? Maybe. Do I pray to a god? Maybe. Do I pray because I believe that forming the words and asking for good things will calm me and steady my mind? Maybe. The thing is, I pray.
Sometimes I lie in bed at night, and am in that state between sleep and slumber, and I think of fire. There is one thing I am deadly afraid of, and that is the house burning down when we sleep. Then I pray, asking something out there to please keep us safe, to please keep the house from burning down. It calms me.
Whenever we fly to London (which is the only place I have flown to for years), as the nose of the plane turns onto the runway and the engines start roaring, I pray. I pray that we will have a safe flight. Pray that the take-off will be good. Saying those words in my mind calms me, even though the last time we went to London the take-off was horrible, both times. Had I not said the prayer, I might have been in a terrible state.
So, whenever I need to be reassured, I say those words in my mind, sometimes whisper them, and they seem to calm me.
My mom was the same as I with religion from my young adult years, even though she went to the church every time she visited my cousin in the north of the country. The reason for this is that her brother, my uncle was a pastor, and she loved listening to him. My cousin and her family is still very active in the church, both being elders, and they are really good people, good Christians. See, I said there were exceptions.
But back to my mom. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things she said was that she wanted to be buried and have a church service. She couldn’t, because she wasn’t a member of the church. I arranged it for her. Asked a pastor to come see her in hospital, filled out the forms, made her a member and she had her church funeral. On her death bed, she returned to her faith; the faith she grew up with; her belief in the God of the Bible. I know my mom felt strengthened when the pastor came to see her, when he read from the Bible, when he prayed for her.
That made me think. Maybe, when I am old and know my end is nearing… maybe then I will return to the Bible too. Maybe all of us need something to hold on to, and then the Bible is more concrete than ‘there is something out there’? Or maybe it’s just because there is a younger someone, a pastor, who knows exactly what to say to you, know which words to pray, to calm your soul and ready you for the inevitable end.
Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay
© Rebel’s Notes