Religion, specifically my religion, is something I don’t talk about often with anyone. I am not a proselytizer, because I do not like to be proselytized too. Also, I find my religion to be an intensely personal experience.
However, I’ve been trying to voice in my head what has happened in regards to my relationship to God over the past four years. If you’re not into it, that’s just fine. Don’t worry, my blog will not be taking on a religious tone. This is a one time post.
It has changed. That’s the most basic way to start this. It has changed in many ways. I didn’t go to church for several years. I have a lovely church full of lovely people. It’s what is known as a reconciling ministry, meaning that we are doing our darndest to bring more people of ALL kinds into the church. We. Accept. And. Love. Everyone. Equally. End of story. I don’t know that I could go anywhere else.
But I didn’t go for a while. And my mom would always bug me about it because it was something we did together for years. I started going to this church by choice when I was 14. I was confirmed there. The pastor there performed my wedding ceremony. Some of my dearest friends have come from that congregation.
And yet. And yet I could hardly force myself to go even for holidays from roughly 2011 to 2015. Quite frankly, I didn’t really return until Charlie was about three weeks old.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I was angry with God for my infertility. But that’s actually not true. I think what is true is worse: I felt nothing toward God. Nothing. I was overcome by a numbness toward God. I didn’t hate Him (I have a pretty liberal interpretation of God, and I object to them being purely patriarchal, but for simplicity, I use the male pronoun). I didn’t love Him. I felt nothing.
I think I had no more room in my heart for love or hate, because I hated myself so much of the time and I think it is very hard to love when you can’t love yourself.
This topic has been on my mind for the last few weeks because next Sunday we are baptizing Charlie. I have felt so emotional about it. I don’t feel bad about my absence from church. I don’t believe in a God that would blame me for something like that. I don’t believe in a God even who would be angry at me for hating Him if I had.
The God that I believe in was waiting for me to be ready to come back, and I was not ready until Charlie was born. I was not ready to feel something toward God until I knew that my girl was safe in my arms. I wouldn’t have blamed him if something had happened, because I do not believe that God exists to give us what we want. The world we live in makes that all too apparent.
What I do believe and know to be true now, is that love begets love. Loving my daughter has made me love God again. I love my husband more than I thought possible now. But Charlie is what makes me love God and believe that He exists.
Because these last few months with my child who even on her worst day is perfect to me has convinced me that a gift like Charlie can only exist in a world where miracles exist.
Next Sunday she will be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and even more importantly to me, she will be welcomed into a family of faith, and love, and hope that will be there for her even if she can’t bring herself to go to church for four years. I know from personal experience.