July 16, 2012
Several people, including some very close to me, claim they have lost faith. Not so much in a god, although that’s part of it. It’s like the news played another story of children drowning and it broke the camel’s back. No joy or pleasure seems to make up for their ultimate premise that life sucks, people suffer and then die. Please don’t misunderstand me, God, I don’t feel this way. I don’t really know who or what you are, or whether you are just a figment of my rife imagination. I don’t care either. I am certainly not going to fight any wars on your behalf, except perhaps internal ones against doubt, fear and worst of all to me, loss of faith.
There was a long string of months a few years back when I was trying to get pregnant where I came close to losing faith. Faith in myself, my body, the “plan”, the Earth, everything. I had an idea of my relationship with you, with the Mystery, the Goddess, where you pulsed through me and lit me up, where I was a medium for your creative powers. I thought I could manifest anything I put my mind to, and that in the end, sperm meets egg and voila! Luckily, thought a little cell-splitting, mini-baby didn’t start in me back then, I somehow managed to keep my then threadbare sense of faith intact. I think meeting Ben made all the difference. Instead of becoming suddenly aware of all the dangers of life, and how I could lose him, I just marveled at the magic of two cells making such a perfect being. Despite it being a tough year, I learned a whole new kind of love, became more resilient, and decided that for Ben to be Ben, he needed to be born exactly when he was, exactly how he was, through my partner A. I don’t make the rules. I certainly don’t think anyone is sitting up there keeping tabs on things or mapping our fates (no offense). It is my chosen belief that Ben came the right way for us, and that belief makes all the difference. As they say to pregnant women in Hebrew, besha'ah tovah - all in the right time.
I remember sitting around on the ground with some cool Unitarian teens talking about Life, and asking them what was important to them. When it was my turn, in addition to those I love, it really came down to my faith. I don’t think I could live without it. I don’t know how people do. I know there is suffering and death. It’s everywhere, including in our homes and hearts. I know there are genocides and pedophiles. I know I live a blessed life compared to so many, so who am I to talk? Despite these things, I hope to take it to the grave that life is still wonderful and worth living, whatever the circumstances. I know it’s an imperfect logic, with pockmarks marring its shine. I know it’s rare for people like Viktor Frankl to survive horrific things like holocausts with their sense of self, their feelings of love and hope still alive. But I know people are happy in all kinds of situations in the world, even if only in moments. The smile of their child, the kind offer from a neighbour, the ladybug making a funny pattern as it walks across their hand. It’s a matter of our lens, what we notice. I think people are also mostly good, even without laws making us civilized. Everyday you see it, if you’re looking for it. Someone offering their seat to the 8 month pregnant woman, the old grumpy neighbour giving out chocolate on Halloween, the bus driver who stops his bus full of people and walks the very elderly woman not only off the bus, but across the street (true story). Most people don’t really want to hurt anyone.
I think life is complicated and interesting, and that everything carries light and dark within. Sometimes things are great, sometimes they aren’t. Yin, yang, the wheel turns. It’s not a bad wheel, it just is. We chose to see what we see, and act how we act. Without turning a blind eye to what we can do to alleviate others’ suffering, I am in favor of us choosing to focus on what’s still good in life and take action accordingly. When we’re on top, share. When we aren’t, take comfort in the little things like the miracle of our breath, the one person who smiled at us walking by, the warm night on the street. No matter how bad it gets, like Viktor wrote, the one thing people can’t take from us is our attitude. It’s our choice. Make lemonade and all that.
I don’t know if prayers do anything but focus my own mind. But God, if you’re listening (and by “you” I mean the cosmic mystery, not an anthropomorphic entity), here is my prayer: May those I love, and anyone else who is suffering from loss of faith, find a thread to hold onto and follow that thread all the way back to the Source. May they find a blanket that comforts but does not smother nor hide away. May they sense love suffuse their bodies, the one thing that keeps most of us going, and may it gently carry away grief and fear of loss and dark thoughts. May they wake up tomorrow and see the beauty peppered throughout this imperfect, perfect life. As Coach Taylor says, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”