Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Getting To Know You: Religion


I was raised in an age of naivety when parents (usually) didn't talk to their kids about sex, drugs, politics or religion. At least it's what I know of my family, my spouse's0 family  and my friends around me. We were let to figure it out on our own. Which is somehow a blessing and a curse. I was in tune with making my own decisions but when the hard questions came- they weren't discussed. It was all hush hush. God (or what have you) is a hard thing to discuss, somehow not tangible, lengthy and complicated. However I do remember having a children's bible and I did flip through it once and awhile although mostly for the great illustrations. To be fair, I never had too many questions about God and it seems I just somehow learned innately 'who he was' and why people die.


Religion in my family was sort of the same- it had faded and fizzled out before I was a thought. My older siblings had it and my parents themselves were coerced to have it dumped upon them in their youth. But I, never had the experience- and I honestly don't know what I think of that. I know we would occasionally go for easter mass at a local lutheran church with my maternal grandparents who lived next door to, also where I went to preschool. Maybe that's where and how I learned some of it without even knowing or realizing. However I do know that it was mostly naps, singing songs and playtime so I don't know what I could have gotten from it.


I really didn't even get too curious about God, religion or faith (or lack thereof) until I had something to feel loss about. My maternal grandmother I was very close to had just died pretty suddenly and I wasn't prepared. The thought of death was lost on me until losing her. So when I really knew she wouldn't ‘come back’ it hit me, and it hit me hard. I begged God why and to bring her back to me (even if just in a dream or vision). Well both of those things happened and it peaked my curiousity. Mom didn't think I was crazy for having 'seen her' but she hoped and wished she'd have the same experience. She encouraged me to keep talking to her at night and feel comforted by the fact that I had ten years with her and she was still watching over me.


Well getting back to religion, I always wondered why I was of few families I knew who didn't do a Sunday church. Instead our family (mandatory) Sunday dinners with my upscale, paternal side of the family. There was a grace prayer said but didn't feel like anything to me- similar to a thanks, nothing more nothing less. I wasn't confused by religion so much but it didn't have a huge part to play either. My paternal grandparents also went to church in some form or another (can't remember which denomination, presbyterian?) but it wasn't really talked about that much. On that side of my family, I got humanitarianism and culture shoved down my throat. Some was nice but mostly, I was just trying to be a normal kid.


When I was 10 or 11 I started going to a few community churches with friends and their families as I asked more and more about it at home. It was a safe way for me to explore; I guess and not be forced or misguided. It was interesting, they were all so vastly different. And I went to a couple that I was NOT interested in. The experience was the fun part and choosing where I wanted to fall back or dive in. I found the upbeat, modern musical churches- some larger churches, were an okay comfortable space for me. So I went a lot with my friend Kaysee to her community church and I enjoyed listening to their church band so much that I bought the CD. Later on as I became more social that was where I felt more comfortable in a youth group setting. I was meeting new people, sharing faith and speaking out in safe circles of friends. That was fun really until I moved away and I never found a youth group like that again.

When we got married there was a pastor named Pete, he was so great! Truly uplifting, happy all the time and wise as heck! I trusted him and believed in his messages every Sunday. I was getting invested. We had to have a marriage counseling session(s) so we went and really it was A) over my spiritual head and B) I wasn't buying a lot of it. It raised a conflict and I didn't wanna continue. We got married there but stopped going shortly after. I do really still know that Pete is a great person and am amazing guide.


I guess to this day I never really learned what role religion plays in my life. I don't feel like it's something I'm missing but that changes day to day. I'm not super altered by it although sometimes I wish I had a practice to believe in and go to. I'm not atheist or agnostic but I'm a God beginner and I think I will always be stuck there in the starting gate. I don't think being a _________ is going to church. I don't think you have to be "part" of some organized religion to call yourself something. I think being a good person triumphs over all. I do have FAITH and I always will. But I also wish it's a part of me that I'd just figure out or put my attention on.

These days I'm super uncomfortable in churches- I've been to way too many funerals by now and it's not a happy place anymore. It's daunting, scary and makes my nerves crawl. Do I believe that God brings people to heaven? Yes. Do I believe in Hell? To a certain degree, no. I do believe all my loved ones despite their actions and choices are all in heaven and awaiting the day I can see and be with them again. I also believe that God won't hand me anything I can't handle. I got mad when it first happened but with all the trials and lessons he's put me through- how can I not believe that? I've had a hard life and made some bad choices but haven't we all?! And I know that no matter what- God has my back, in the light and especially in the dark.

Getting to Know You is a monthly interview series that Brita created after the dissolution of Guys Behind the Blog. While Brita and her husband both answer the questions each month, feel free to use these questions to interview anyone in your life! Or just share your own responses. Link-up goes live on the last Tuesday of each month. 

Link up with Belle Brita:
Getting to Know You | Belle Brita

6 comments

  1. Religion has always been something that I've been 'figuring out' until a couple of years ago when after lots of searching, questioning, I came to a place I felt comfortable with where I was. I honestly think it's something we are always supposed to be 'searching' and 'figuring out'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah that does make the most sense since we are growing evolving and changing humans!

      Delete
  2. Hmm... when I was a kid I used to say "Oh my God" a lot, and my grandma would get upset with me taking the Lord's name in vain. She explained I shouldn't say things like that and that I should go to church to understand why.

    As I was growing up I think it made my grandma sad that I didn't practice with an organized religion. She was raised Catholic and my dad was raised Catholic as well. My mom's family wasn't really church-going. And as my brother got into junior high and high school he pursued going to a Lutheran church. I, however, never felt comfortable going to church.

    One day when I was in college I called my grandma like I did every Friday (she was an AMAZING woman, one of my best friends). And she asked me if I would ever pursue organized religion. I was finally at a point in my life where I felt like I could explain to her my feelings. I told her that I had my own beliefs and that I do believe in God and even sometimes pray. I explained that I'd never found an organized religion that really echoed my thoughts on God. I told her that I felt like I could have a relationship with God outside of church or organized religion and that I believed that God simply wanted me to live a good life, overcome my challenges, and try to be a good person.

    We had a long talk about it, and after that she never asked me to go to church again.

    I still have never felt a need to attend church. Faith, for me, has always been very personal, between God and me. And I'm okay with that. I think my grandma was okay with that too.

    (wooh, sorry for the novel!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a lot of the same occurances. I did say oh my god a lot and members of my family would promptly correct me. I was raised in a mainly lutheran surrounding. But I never really could understand or fit in. I was never one to follow... I'm a wolf not a sheep. I had the personality and mind of "why, why, why" I can't just land on because the Bible said so. Or you just know. I needed proof, tangible proof and I didn't take what others thought was believable. It was hard even for my parents explaining a few bible stories- it was all half hearted. But I'm glad that I was never forced or made to go-and had a chance to find it myself. I do my faith in private. 🙏🏻

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the novel! So glad that you commented! Appreciate it!

      Delete
  3. I love learning about other people's religious backgrounds. Growing up in a small southern town, the question was never, "Do you go to church?" but "Where do you go to church?" Because the default was always Christian. When I studied abroad in Versailles, one of the gifts I gave my host family was a beautiful set of note cards that had a photo of all the church steeples in my hometown. My host mother was amazed that one small town had so many churches!

    ReplyDelete

© Nora Spaulding. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.