Two things before I get into these thoughts; first did you get the title reference? There was a book I read when I was in middle school and it was, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”. This book was everything to me when I read it. Its by Judy Bloom and awesome. Second, this is a judgement free space. By agreeing to ready my blog you are agreeing to read about my thoughts, actions, and everything else and are able to laugh, cry, and disagree with me, but you cannot judge por favor.
So here we go, religion. There, I typed it. Stop cringing and let’s talk about it. This would obviously be much more appropriate at work or some dinner party where I could make things truly awkward, but I am going to share a few thoughts of mine on this topic. I feel so disconnected from religion. I was raised Catholic, and my mother is reading this with tears in her eyes right now because she is so passionate about her beliefs. I will say without any tone of sarcasm or contempt, I truly respect even admire people with deep faith and a connection to their religion. I am just at a place where I feel like its not for me.
Growing up, I was encouraged to pray for my family or what I wanted. This is an easy introduction for children to start the practice of prayer. I can remember vividly praying to get A’s on tests, or my report card to come home perfect so my parents would be proud. Ultimately God never issued divine intervention and granted me my hard prayed for good grades. Why would He, right? I should have studied, but I would be left feeling let down. I did what I was told, I prayed, why didn’t anything come from it?
Then when I was going into middle school, shit got real when my brother was diagnosed with cancer. I remember feeling like God was punishing me. I would ignore my little brother or treat him like a pest. Now God was mad at me, here was this selfish little thing that would pray for good grades, but not study, and now not play with her brother either. He would show me a lesson! Cancer for my brother. I remember telling a priest about it, and his response was, this is a good lesson I am learning from God, to appreciate my brother. I should treat him better, and with love. Ummm, what? God is teaching me a lesson for real, for real?
Now, I can recognize the priest was trying to put it into words a child could understand. He was trying to let me know I should always be kind to my brother, not just when he has cancer. I should take this scary moment and remember it, and one day when he is better, remember these feelings and treat him like I could lose him. God wants us to appreciate each other, as we are all His children. I’m sorry, I think that sucks though.
This leads me to a common phrase, “God only gives you as much as you can handle.” I’m sorry, but that statement really makes me not like religion most of all. Really? God is looking at us in a line up with his clip board of crap he has to assign. Hmmm, not Cindy, she really couldn’t handle getting in a car accident and being paralyzed, but Chris over there; I know he could take it. The year my brother was diagnosed, another little boy had cancer as well. We were in a small town, so everyone heard about it. My brother survived, and is an amazing 30 something man, but the other little boy did not make it. Did God think their family could handle that and ours couldn’t?
So, now I am supposed to be raising my children to be good people. This is seriously an intimidating task! If you really think about the fact each idea/concept/decision, will impact the way your child interpret the world, and their own decisions. I need to make sure they will have a great moral compass, and I feel like religion can really do that for you, but how do I do that? How do I take them to a church when I am feeling such doubt and uncertainty. I hate being a hypocrite, and I don’t want to go when I am not sure what I believe in spiritually. I feel like there IS a God, but to me it’s not a person that intervenes and you pray to.
This is going to sound so simplistic, and I promise I don’t mean it to be offensive, but God to me, is watching us like a giant episode of, “This Is Us”. He laughs with us and cries with us. He even yells as us when we are making bad choices, but He does nothing to stop them. I feel like I HAVE to believe that. The alternative that there is a God that picks and chooses who is dealt a bad hand and who is dealt a good hand is too horrible.
I do worry that one day, when my kids are older, they will ask me why religion isn’t a part of our life. Or maybe one of my kids will decide to be extremely devoted to a certain religion. I hope I don’t disappoint them, and I hope they don’t feel let down by me. Ultimately, I want to be a good person, and I want to live in a world where I can respect everyone for who they are and what they believe, even if it isn’t the same as me. I hope they can respect that I am living the most authentic life that I can, and I hope that is the example they take away from it.
So please please please don’t judge me. I know this is a sensitive subject, and everyone has their own beliefs on the matter. I would also love to hear what you think about it! How have you chosen your religion? Do your children, as they get older, feel passionately about religion also?
I am excited to hear about your spiritual journey.