life as i know it

"...everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." -Sylvia Plath

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

bringing God back

I grew up in a religious family, attending church every Sunday morning and saying a prayer before every meal and at bedtime every night. I learned the most popular bible verses and could recite the Lord’s prayer by the time I was seven. And I even went through a time period in my preadolescence when religious activities were the essence of my existence. Friendships were based on a common belief in God. Weekend excursions were opportunities to serve God and share in fellowship with those around me. But by the time I was in high school, my beliefs had begun to fade to the background and I found myself lost in a maze of confusion and doubts and rebellion. My parents still insisted I go to church every Sunday, but my appropriate church attire was quickly replaced with bohemian skirts and combat boots. I took the liberty of engaging in fantasies throughout the sermons and wrote dark poetry on the backs of bulletins. When I moved away from home to attend college at the age of 17, I was relieved to be able to make my own decisions about church and God. The problem resided in the fact that I didn’t know how to make my own decisions and consequently lived an internal battle of guilt and pleasure. With the exception of holidays at home with my family, I stopped going to church. In fact, I didn’t go to church for the next four to five years. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God during those years. My belief has always been there; it was just hidden deep inside, an inconspicuous fragment of a life from which I was running away. Even when I would get a momentary burst of inspiration and periodically arrive at a random church on Sunday morning, I still did not feel the depth of what I was searching for in the realm of spirituality. I never stopped praying; prayer was the one aspect of my faith to which I clung through all the years. But prayer was not enough, and somewhere deep inside, I knew that. I’ve never been the type of person to believe that people must attend church in order to be a good Christian. I still do not ascribe to those “rules”. However, spirituality is essentially the essence of life and love and goodness. And so, as I continued my lost wanderings down paths of destruction and ambivalence, I realized somewhere along the way that the void inside, the intrusive negativity, the utter misery, were all simply manifestations of a life without God as my center.

It’s hard to explain the change I have begun to witness within myself over the past week. It’s strange to think that in such a short time period, my beliefs and values and whole perspective on life have been reevaluated and clarified so intensely. I could tell you the story of a conversation that set the process in motion. I could tell you how I’ve witnessed the pure goodness of humanity and how I’ve been reminded of the importance of love and faith. I could tell you how I felt as I sat in a church for the first time in years this past Sunday. I could tell you how the tears of awe welled and then fell with an overwhelming sense of internal peace. But telling you these stories, telling you about these moments, could never truly explain the transitions occurring within my spirit. What I can tell you is this…the sun is shining brighter than ever, the beauty of the world is greeting me in each moment, and for the first time in a very long time, I have faith that I am exactly who and where I am meant to be.

11 Comments:

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

connecting with you in this post. i am in the midst of a "not attending church" period... more for emotional reasons than belief reasons... like you, my belief has never waivered... i actually believe in a God who cares for me more than ever. however my parents would really struggle with my absence from church. i find peace in knowing God does not rely on the external rules that man does. He just simply loves me.

I'm happy for you... I pray for the same kind of renewal. negativity has been very intrusive lately and i'm anxious for it to move out... but still it stays. I'm tired of my sad face. I tell it to leave, but my smile is hard to find.

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can relate to this one, too, td...glad you are finding your way, wherever that leads you...hugs!

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger kerry said...

this post gives me such hope. i have detached from my faith in the last 2 years and it has left a void. and i know it is true and right for me in my heart to be connected to God, but i simply have yet to work through the resistance.
i love what you wrote about the goodness of humanity and the little moments that have accumulated to bring you hope in your spirit.
you have encouraged me more than you realize.

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Isn't it wonderful when it becomes something real, living and vital again? I'm excited for you and wish you many more moments of awe.

 
At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a gift...that God truly meets us wherever we are at. I am so happy for you Tara.

 
At 12:33 AM, Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

this touched me and resonated with me deeply. thank you...

 
At 5:06 AM, Blogger Helen said...

The Holy Spirit is speaking to you. Praise God!

 
At 8:23 PM, Blogger Amber said...

I am de-lurking to say, Wow.

So much of what you say is in my own heart. I have been thinking so much these last few day sabotu my faith, and a post about it, because of a question someone asked me in an email...And I have been listening to a cd by a blues artist I love, who has cut a blue/gospel album, because that is just where he has found himself. It is so moving. (Jonny Lang)

Faith is never black and white. I am happy you feel happy and safe in your refound spirituality. I happen to believe it is the marrow of life. And beautiful...

:)

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger mamagrace said...

I am so happy for you , my special little angel. I have prayed for you faithfully many times a day for all of your years. I am glad that you are now finding what happiness and love is all about, for God is Love. He continues to help me and to be my best friend, and I pray that He will become yours also. You are so dear to me and to so many people. I love you more than you can imagine!!!Enjoy life in a new way, and always keep your faith. I'll see you in a couple of days.

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger melba said...

How wonderful for you!
I have always prayed too and at times get up and go to church, but it is not a regular thing. I don't want it to be just something I do as an obligation like I did when I was a child. Although my children have been baptised they don't Know what church is. As a parent I find it difficult to explain to my children stuff I don't even understand myself.

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger GoGo said...

being another person welcoming the spiritual journey back in my life, I greatly appreciated your words.

 

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