a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to G-d (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
I think I spent years without true faith – and more than just religious faith – faith that what I was doing was right, and that my actions had any higher meaning. I guess it’s hard to put words to – you just feel an absence in your life. I suppose that this post necessitates a bit of a life story because it is my first, so please, have a look here. Now, pull down on your safety restraints placing them firmly against your chest, keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, and enjoy the ride.
I identified as an atheist for a long time – I called myself a Recovering Cathoholic, as I was first raised some nutty division of fanatical Christianity in Omaha, NE, followed by Catholicism when I moved to NY. I literally got baptized because “everyone else was doing it,” so I felt like I wanted to be a part of something special. That never really spoke to me, however – I never felt Jesus’ love or whatever it is we’re supposed to experience. In fact, all I ever felt was that the Church wanted to rain down doom and destruction on me, to make me kneel before some terrifying master. Needless to say, how is one to believe in G-d when you don’t believe in the things right in front of you?
Many spiritual years and experiences were lost to me because of the religion I was pushed into, instead of the Faith I should’ve been allowed to find for myself. I blamed all religion for all the evils of the world, and certainly, it is responsible for a great deal of suffering and ills of the world. One might say “some more than others,” and perhaps there’s even a truth there, but in reality, I think it’s mostly a matter of perspective, and of the time period in which you reside (for my Medieval readers out there, just in case you have magic parchment that can read the Internet of the future).
Something in my world has never really added up – I guess I felt a gentle tug at one point or another to come to G-d, and even specifically, Judaism. The first time I really felt it was with, or just before, my first serious girlfriend. After we broke up, maybe I just threw it away as a phase, maybe I didn’t want to believe that I was actually interested not only in G-d, but in a religion. Maybe I just wasn’t mature enough to accept what I felt.
My longest term girlfriend was another Jewish girl, herein referred to as “The XX,” someone who was more observant than my previous ex. We spent the better part of five years together, and during that time, I became exposed to more of the Jewish faith and culture. I saw the first bits of true beauty in it, and I began to appreciate it a little bit. Sadly, I was still a very closed off person, and my ex and I clashed a lot as she was not able to comprehend or deal with my emotional distance, and I wasn’t willing or able to express my hurt to her. Ultimately, it was what drove us apart, though not the cause of our final breakup.
Finally, a number of years later, I began to accept certain things in my life, and I began to open my mind again. I allowed myself the luxury of feelings long since buried, emotions that I had finally found a way to simply turn off. I was Borg, Vulcan, emotionless and unfeeling. Life had presented itself to me, and I finally started inviting it in for tea. I became human again, with all the pain and joy it brings.
Around this time, I met my friend, I’ll call her Doc, because I’m uncertain to what extent she would like to be identified, and her name is rather unique. If you’re not familiar with the story of Doc and me, you should probably read this post here before continuing.
Faith, in my opinion, isn’t something one needs to have throughout their lives. It is, however, something we all need to find to guide us through life to find our higher meaning. I am so grateful I have found mine.
(I think this post is going to be chopped up and reduced to numerous posts, so I apologize for the length of the read. I promise to get it all cleaned up soon, though. Thanks for listening.)