expect to find him laughing." --Depeche Mode
Religion has never been clear to me. What I felt in my heart was always in direct conflict with what I was taught in my 12 years of Catholic schooling. Somewhere along my journey, I came to the conclusion God had given up on me. I was just on sick joke placed on this Earth, left to be completely alone. After getting over the anger of that, I accepted it and decided to live my life, not how "God" wanted, but how I thought good people should live it. I accepted God was not on my side but that didn't mean He couldn't be there for others. I have actually always been jealous of people who have strong faith in God because they have someplace else to turn when things are hard. When things get hard, other than Husband, my parents, and select friends, I only have myself to turn to. For most things, that's fine. For most things, it makes you stronger. But, for some things, it breaks you.
This past month, I have been broken. There is only so much comfort you can get from family and friends. When things get so bad that you feel like you can't go on, it's nice to have something extra. I don't have that extra. Not yet. I'm on a religious journey. A pilgrimage of sorts, to find if I can ever believe in something more. I have spent the past 20 years of my life believing the exact words in the above Depeche Mode song. I have spent 20 years of my life feeling like the lyrics in Nine Inch Nails, "Terrible Lie". "...I'm all alone in a world you must despise. Hey, God. I believed your promises, your promises and lies." My journey is to give more hope than that to my children and, along the way, maybe finding more hope for myself.
Monster has been interested in learning about God and Jesus since he could pretty much talk. A lot of that was my mom, but more of that was just his desire to learn everything about everything. I have never had an issue with teaching my children about religion, but I have never wanted one belief to be pushed more than others. I always wanted my children to figure religion out for themselves. I wanted to give them exposure to everything from Judaism to Buddhism to Christianity to Wicca. I have always wanted them to find something more. So, my mother started teaching Monster about God and Jesus. I love my mother. She truly has faith in what she believes, but she doesn't teach the other side. For example, last Easter, Monster and my mother were having a discussion about the resurrection of Jesus. Fine, no problem, except I felt it necessary to interject that not everyone believes in the resurrection and that's OK. But Monster then told Nana, "But we believe that and we're right" and she said yes. No. There is no right and wrong. And here in lies the struggle. I am perfectly OK with Monster believing that. I am OK with him learning all about it, but I am not OK with him believing that someone else's beliefs are wrong.
Fast forward. With how smart Monster is, he has been seeking out something "more" in life. He may be only 6, but he's so much more advanced than that. He's already looking for purpose and reason to life. I can not, will not, let him fall into my vast pit of hopelessness. That's not what I want for him. He finds comfort in God. That's what I want. So, we started going to church. Before I completely gave up on religion, I found that I enjoyed my father's church, which is a Methodist church. That's where I decided to start for our journey. Well, actually, I started our journey at the Baptist church, but that was definitely not for me or Monster. He loved the teachings but the praising and singing was too intense for his shy self. We have been attending the local Methodist church for 2 months now. Monster is loving it. Sunshine has only been twice, but she likes it, too. She's definitely not on the same quest Monster is though.
For me, it's a rough go. Husband won't go to church. He's been jaded as well. I feel like it's my job as a parent to help Monster and Sunshine with their religious journey, so I will go to church with them. It is so extremely difficult going. I feel like a hypocrite. I have this internal battle from what I have believed for so long, what I want to believe, and what I was taught. I go to church on Sundays and I listen to the sermons and find them interesting. Interesting in either they are in direct conflict with what I learned but completely go along with what I always believed, but it's fighting against how I feel. Two weeks or so ago, the sermon was about God never being too busy for you. God is always there. This is what I always wanted to believe growing up. What I was taught though was that God is too busy. Don't bother Him. If you need something, pray to Mary or a Saint. Don't bother God with your trivial stuff. This past Sunday, the sermon was about letting God's will be done. Letting go of the control. God has a plan. I get it. I understand it. I want my children to believe that everything in life has a purpose. Things happen for a reason, even if we don't know that reason. But, unfortunately, that aligns with my feelings of hopelessness. What kind of God makes children suffer? What kind of God makes you feel such despair?
My world, my family's world, has completely fallen apart this past month, and I want to give my children someplace to turn, but how do I explain the hurt and pain? How do I make them feel like there is something more out there to believe and put trust in if the hurt just continues? How do I get my kids to put their faith in something I've lost all hope in? I don't pray. At this point on my journey, I find it too hypocritical but I believe that other people find comfort in prayer. I tell my kids to pray, hoping they will find comfort.