May 29, 2015 by positivelypeachie
Growing up, I was raised in a home by estranged Christians. They had been raised Christian, but through various life experiences decided God wasn’t real and closed the door. We had been allowed to attend Sunday school if we so wished, there certainly hadn’t been any kind of ban on it – but the mention of God was absent from our home. I didn’t think it mattered at the time, but as I grew further and further into darkness battling through undiagnosed OCD, I found myself ill equipped to handle it. I didn’t feel like I had the strength and the world was moving too quickly. Yet, somehow, somewhere, God was whispering in my ear to hold on, it would be OK…and it was.
Now, with those dark times just a glimmer in my memory, I get it. Faith is beautiful – all faith, any faith – it’s the most beautiful thing out there and it brings beautiful things with it – goodness, kindness, love, joy, respect, acceptance…
Caroline sums it up so perfectly in her post – the difference between religion and faith. I had always said I was spiritual not religious, but otherwise couldn’t explain it – but now she has given words to my thoughts. You don’t “do” to earn God’s love, God loves you anyway – and you “do” because you are loved. I don’t think you need to do anything to earn His love…I also don’t think He ceases to love people who do horrible things. I want to teach my children this because I firmly believe it applies to parenting, too – when my nephews misbehave, I don’t love them less. I am irritated with them, perhaps more inclined to stay around the house then take them out somewhere – but I still love them just as much as I do when they are behaving well. I think God’s love is the same – and I think that is such a beautiful, fulfilling thing.
I also don’t believe you have to follow my particular faith to be happy and headed for a happy ever after. I honestly think whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian – we’re all going to Heaven, and there is a beautiful God leading us there.
When it comes down to it, we’re all in this together as one…every single one of us.
Having said that and with the Duggar case still so fresh in the media, it also begs to be said that sometimes bad things can come from faith as well. One of those bad things is the closed community that can sometimes develop where people seek the assistance of each other and not the social or justice system in issues much bigger and deeper than they can comprehend. Or where people cover up for each other because they’re “(insert religious term here)” and wouldn’t ever do something like that. In so many religions and places, church authority is greater than law – and so things are dealt with through the church. Sometimes it resolves the issue and all is well, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Like in everything, there is evil where there is good.
I realized a couple years ago that I am one of those people who will have to make the conscious choice to see the good, and allow it to shine brighter than the evil, or I will be consumed by sadness for the evil out there. I don’t know why I am so very sensitive to others’ misfortune or bad choices, but I am, and it can drag me down to the bottom of a very deep, dark well if I let it. Instead of succumbing to it, I’ve learned to look to the good and force it to shine as brightly as I can, above and beyond the evil, and spread it wherever I can – which is what I believe faith is all about. I don’t always succeed, and sometimes I even fail to try, but that is also what faith is about too. Failing is human, and faith is human too.
I know not everyone is spiritual or faith-filled, and I am hoping not to isolate any readers in this. Faith is both personal and intimate, and you have to come to it at the right time and in the right way…but I think we all have faith on some level, whether it’s in God, or science, or in the power of your grandmother’s Sunday baking. If you just fan that flame a little, and let it grow, it’s amazing what it can turn into!
Chops turns two today! TWO! I feel like two years (well, 1 year and 10 months) has just flown by. She remains one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, even though she ate my slipper this morning! I can’t imagine my life without pets in it – they just make everything better. My sweet girl!
Thank goodness she’s light as a Chihuahua and not like 70 lbs or something (!!!!).
She has been a ray of sunshine in our life, and while she is often getting into trouble, she is charming and sweet and fun and keeps our home bustling with activity – the perfect dog for an infertile couple! She is just like a toddler except hairier.
Chops is the easiest and hardest thing I’ve raised so far – she was sick as a puppy and no one knew why, getting up multiple times in the night with chronic diarrhea. No matter how exhausted I was from lack of sleep, the awkward way she ran sideways with her butt catching up to her head (totally a puppy thing), or the way she just knew when I needed a snuggle, makes it all worth it. She continues to be both a challenge and a massive blessing…and she ALWAYS makes us laugh (see below):
She is still crazy but she is blossoming into a beautiful dog and I am so thankful we got her and stuck out the difficult puppy stage when nothing we fed her seemed to help the diarrhea (like we would have given up on her, not my girl!).
She is now a permanent fixture in our lives and while I realize dog’s lives are shorter than humans, I hope to have her with me forever (come on researchers – make dogs live forever!). I could think of no better side kick.
Happy Birthday Chops! Don’t party too hard!
P.S: You owe me new slippers.