“Let’s talk about God!”
*random cough from the back of the room*
I want to believe in God. I SO want to believe. The thought is comforting; soothing. The logic is: though the decisions I make have their consequences, it is all a part of a greater plan; His plan. And since I’m a (relatively) nice person, everything- in the end- should turn out okay, right? RIGHT???
The image of a giant man with a long, white beard, sitting upon his throne behind the pearly gates in the clouds just doesn’t sit right with me. I can’t seem to force my brain to give credence to this outlook. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong— just not for me.
[Post-composition edit: As my plane just hit turbulence, I was praying to EXACTLY that guy. I’m a walking contradiction.]
Comedian Chris D’Elia said, “You can believe what you want to believe, just don’t act like it’s not creepy.” We all have our own thoughts, but I hate when people think that theirs is the only normal one out there. Not true. They’re all pretty unorthodox (no pun intended… fine, a little bit intended). Embrace it, because life is pretty weird (and- let’s face it- creepy, too), and that’s okay.
That’s not to say that I don’t have faith in something greater than myself. It seems rather ridiculous to think that I’m IT; their must be something more. I NEED there to be something more.
Hippie-dippie as it may sound, I truly believe that to get good energy out of the universe, you need to put good into it. Not necessarily through grand gestures, but by doing simple things- smiling at strangers, helping a friend move, truly trusting a person’s word. My daughter likes to leave pennies on the ground for others to find. You don’t need to anonymously donate 7 million dollars to a children’s charity to release good energy (though if you do, it’s not a bad thing).
Often this “positive energy” is perceived as “naivety,” and the person (namely, me) is walked, stomped, and at times even marched upon. Of course I’ve done my share of marching, but I digress.
Why, then, do I choose to raise my children in the church?
This is a question that I’ve battled internally since their birth. Eugene Mirman once said “It’s the specificity of religion that’s a little silly.” Though I don’t have ALL the same beliefs as my fellow Catholics (it’s just TOO specific!), something about the lifestyle just feels right to me. It’s probably due to the fact that my own childhood was spent going to mass each Sunday, saying grace before dinner, and considering the consequences of sin. These traditions, along with the values that can be instilled through Catholicism, are not necessarily a bad thing for my kids.
And, organized religion makes the world seem a bit smaller and a bit safer.
That said, it’s important for them to understand the significance of acceptance. Acceptance for people of ALL religions, cultures, and lifestyles. If you hate someone, like, TRULY hate, it should be because of his sucky personality, not because he’s Jewish or Irish or gay or collects Beanie Babies.
In the end, it’s important to understand that nobody actually knows, and no one WILL know until the time comes.
It’s actually a strange, unifying feeling that- regardless of what we believe- we will all find out the truth within a few minutes of dying. It’ll be the end. Lights out. Or, perhaps, lights on, depending on what you believe.
****This post would not have been possible without listening to the thoughtful musings of my friend Pete Holmes (he doesn’t know that we’re friends yet) and his guests on the podcast “You Made it Weird,” that I highly recommend. Simply click on the link or listen on your favorite podcast app. You’re welcome.