Faith is not easy, but it never was.
I went to church today for the first time in a very long time.
In fact, apart from the one time I accompanied one of my best friend’s (I’m confused about the apostrophe position so ignore it if I’m wrong) to her church in Edinburgh, the last time I went to church was the 6th of March, 2016.
I know this date without looking at the calendar. Because as I walked towards the tram stop on my way to church on the 6th of March, I was crying very mildly. I had an un-explainable ache in my heart, of homesickness. In fact for the past week I had been extremely nostalgic. I was in a funk.
My dad died two days later. And for some reason, once all protocols were observed and I was back to work in the UK, I did not have the courage to go back to church.
Church should be sanctuary, and the one I go to is. They go above and beyond- I’ve seen it in how they treat others.
I was just not ready to go and bare my soul in such a public forum. I was scared I would lose it and crumple in front of everyone. I knew I would get help, but I wasn’t ready for it just yet. Does that make sense?
As in, as much as I am an open book I like to still maintain some level of control over the rate at which I expose my innermost thoughts.
So I continued with my faith lifestyle, and daily rituals of prayer and bible reading.
Today: It was nice to be able to pick myself up and go to church again. I didn’t feel anything ‘dazzling,’ but surely that is a good thing. I don’t need dazzling faith, I need normalcy.
I was also honest in my heart as I watched everyone praying:
I need to start over.
I need to accept where I am right now in life, accept that I have many questions, accept that my ‘religious’ knowledge cannot answer everything, and accept that faith crises will happen more than once in life. I need to accept it all and take it to the throne of grace.
I recently fell out with someone of another faith, who had consistently tried arguing with me over faith issues. Our falling out was not due to me trying to ram any of my beliefs down her throat. In fact those who know me best know that I hardly indulge in arguments about religion and politics. Friendships can be lost (case in point :( ). Anyway, this person had a track record of constantly trying to lure me into religious arguments, even through the most unrelated topics. Shortly after dad passed away, she tried me for the last time.
She wanted an argument and a facebook debate: I did not, and will never owe it to anyone.
I’m not too proud to admit these facts: I was born into Christianity, followed it through my entire life, am comforted by it, am also shaken by it at times, raise eyebrows at many bible passages, and hold onto it dearly because it gives me hope.
This choice to have this faith does not make me better, worse, braver, or more stupid than anyone of another faith or no faith at all. So I don’t bother arguing about it. Life is hard enough as it is. We are all just trying to make it through. We find purpose and hope for better days to come through different things. For me it is this faith.
So as shook up as I was over the past couple of months, this morning was the morning I would go back to church.
Something else on my mind: I don’t know where this idea of faith making life easier came from. I could speculate (and in fact, my sister is writing her Masters dissertation on something related to this subject.) Not a single biblical character had it easy. Though I am not knowledgeable on other religions, I’m pretty sure many characters in the different holy texts also didn’t have it easy. None of us has it easy. Believers or not.
But after months of praying on my own, and with family and friends over the phone, it was nice to be in the midst of others that were singing and dancing.
Yep, I’m starting again. But not from zero. There’s a whole lot that I’ve learned and am still learning. There are the questions too. So this relationship will likely always be a work in progress. I’m concluding that I don’t mind that: at least it represents spiritual growth. The God that I believe in shouldn’t mind either.
So this is my Sunday confession.
I welcome prayers for me, as I continue trying to become a better person in every aspect of my life.
Please respect my story by not trying to argue religiously. If you are familiar with my work you will know I’m a fan of mutual respect: we all have the right to our beliefs ❤
I welcome any other comments :)