So here is a new perspective for you to consider and I realize before I start that I am treading on sacred territory but hear me out.
I was not baptized as a child because in short my mother was Jewish and my father was Catholic and therefore they decided it best to let me decide when I was old enough. There was one flaw in that theory, you cannot decide what you do not know.
My religious history is simple; I was fortunate to go to church with friends as I was growing up and as an adult I frequented two churches intermittently; one with my Mom as she was exploring her own curiosity of religion and the other with my oldest son that was given the benefit of faith through his grandparents. I was always curious and most of the time liked how I felt when I was there but admittedly spent much of the time confused as I have no context, no knowledge to rely on…to have faith. I do not know the bible, I do not know prayers by heart and I am devoid of all proper religious knowledge. And yes, after having stated all of that I still think I am the most blessed person in the room.
Here is my perspective on why I am “blessed because I wasn’t”…
- Not having a founding religion allowed me as I grew up to consider all religions that were introduced to me. It was in that consideration that I was open to all of them.
- Not having a foundation of belief and faith I have been open to the miracles in all faiths, beliefs and spirituality.
- Not having a concrete set of values founded in one faith has allowed me to create my own. I have assembled a faith that believes in a higher power that I refer to as God, believes in the power of the universe and believes that energy defines us.
I see things that others find routine with awe and amazement; here are two instances that occurred just recently:
- I was having a conversation with my friend on Good Friday. She was so excited that our trip was getting cut short because it meant that she was going to be able to get home in time for Good Friday service. When I inquired to learn more she was generous with informing me of the meaning behind the holiday and the many other scheduled services that she and her family would attend throughout the weekend. I sat and listened hanging on every word as I was truly intrigued. The blessing in this conversation was the emotion in her eyes as they welled up with tears as she talked about this holiday, and her passion behind it was infectious.
- Another recent example of bearing witness to this awe and amazement came when another friend and I were talking about our childhoods. We share many of the same stories but hers were a bit more intense. At one point I turned to her and said, “How did you make it through” and she looked back at me and said “Because of my faith and because I know I have “him” on my side I know I will always be okay.” The words on this page cannot possibly explain what I saw in her eyes. In that moment I was witnessing true belief and devout faith and could feel the energy around us change. It was breathtaking.
You see it’s through these examples that I can resolve that had I had a religion of my own, or one that owned me I would never have been able to be as wide open as I was in either of these instances. It was because I am curious and hungry for perspective that I was able to experience God in both of these amazing individuals.
In conclusion I believe that I am blessed because the decision was not made for me, and that made all the difference. My father once told me that when he says his prayers at night he removes the part of the prayer that states “If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take” because he never wants to be in a place that his daughter cannot. My response to that desperate plea is that it will be okay because while you may have your belief that is founded in heaven and hell I believe that there is a beautiful place in the afterlife for all of us. My belief is that it doesn’t matter if you were baptized, bar mitzvah’d or raised to make your own decision as the God I believe in would not decide subjectively.
I am blessed because I wasn’t, because…
- I believe in what you put out in the universe is what you get back
- I believe in right and wrong
- I believe in kindness to others regardless of status
- I believe in the power of prayer because prayer is the most concentrated energy we can put out in the universe
I believe all of these things and these beliefs have made me who I am. In this perspective I have realized that I am not “less than” because of a lack of religion because in the end it is about faith, and Lord knows I have faith! This is life as I am living it, full of faith, lacking religion and BLESSED. L.