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Quote: “Fall On Your Knees” Hymn O Holy Night

This quote, above, is not really a quote in the sense that some great scholar wrote a passage to make us think and change the value of our lives. But it is a line that has always struck me not so much as a command but as a suggestion in order to make your life feel better. To be truthful, I don’t know that falling on one’s knees really does anything but I love the image the words provoke. The desperation during desperate times. The one avenue when all roads are closed. The one act that everyone can easily do whether to hedge their own bets or to truly follow the belief system they hold dear. I like the belief that falling on one’s knees is the last resort; when nothing else actually works.

I have allowed into my life some wonderful ladies who deeply believe in faith, God, and the promise their bible states. My husband thinks I just like the fact that they talk to me when so many don’t. I think I like the continual education about a topic that fascinates me. It pushes me to think beyond my own life and makes me question all religions and their desperation to find answers to questions that may have been asked but will never be known. I also like to hedge my bets when it comes to God; and if there really is a God I know in deep in my soul that he is perfectly fine with me questioning, learning, listening, researching all that revolves around his revered name.

I should state out load that I tend to follow more of the Christian faith than any others. I have studied Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hindi, and many others. I don’t identify myself as the sole practitioner of any one religion. I can never reconcile the idea that one idea, one religion is the sole source of all there is in this earth. And, while I hope to never insult or disrespect anyone or any religion, the truth is there are so many commonalities and so few differences between most of these heavy tomes weighted with words of the saints, popes, rabbis, scholars, and believers that I often find myself not truly caring who provides my answers. There are items in religious beliefs that I can not follow. There are chapters, books, verses, that can’t be reconciled with my own belief. So I search. I search for what my heart rejoices to hear. I search for what my ears need to believe. And I understand fundamentally that God, or whoever you believe in, is a deeply personal and deeply sacred quest that each of us must ultimately walk alone.

As a child my mother choose not to baptize me. Whether it was simply convenience or a time in her life when God wasn’t on her mind, I don’t know. It’s a fact that I have learned to hide. It makes people uncomfortable to know that I am not baptized. One poignant memory for me was being a bridesmaid at a wedding and I couldn’t take communion because it was against the rules. I obeyed their rules and simply didn’t partake, but at a child of twenty it was deeply embarrassing. If I am truthful most things about organized religion make me somewhat nervous: the singing, the children being pulled up to the altar, the dress, the thousands of sermons that have never applied to me. I look at religion as something to study and learn, but privately and with time.

I didn’t baptize my children because I didn’t want to choose a religion for them; and if truthful, I didn’t want to have to go to the classes that proceeded it. I want my children to find religion and their God in their own way. I want them to be curious and ask questions when they are ready for the answers. I want them to find their own path. I will continue to pray for their safety and health in case they themselves are not doing it, but that is about as far as I go. There are probably readers of this post who are aghast at this notion or philosophy, but I figure the one thing all these religions have taught me is that I must follow my own path to my own God.

Being mentally ill there are a lot of questions I have for God. The whys, the wheres, the whats, the hows. I detest the fact that there is a being in this universe who believes that I deserve to have this illness and has given me this illness for whatever reason that I can’t put my own finger on. I hate the idea that there is something in this universe that allows evil, knowingly. I can’t reconcile my mind to all the horror this world brings and a loving being that is sitting on a throne shrugging his shoulders. I can’t reconcile that there is a supreme being that believes that the disgust man finds amusing is in anyway more than a puppet show for his own entertainment. They say God didn’t give me anything I can’t handle, which I call bullshit on. They say that God didn’t purposely give me a disease as a bargaining chip, which I would really like to say bullshit on. They say that God loves me, has given me free will and yet knows exactly what I am going to type next; so much of it simply doesn’t work in my feeble mind.

It is the sole reason, or at least the only reason I am going to admit to, for why I am searching for answers about a topic that is subjective and often cruel. I need, in my soul, to reconcile the God that people from the dawn of time has assured me loves me with the God who gave me this life and threw away the key. I have resolved to know that I won’t find that answer, why God gave me this life, but I am still searching for the rest of the story. And before you ask, I study science, art, technology, business, politics, evil, in the same manner that I study religion. Thoroughly, fully, and with a kernel of doubt that always leads me to finding another question.

I have a personal image of God that was recently presented to me when I closed my eyes one night. I doubt that the image is real and as it is somewhat static, I don’t have to try and explain anything other than that simple image. But it is an image that has followed me recently and one that somehow gives me a little comfort. It isn’t an image of me falling on my knees. It isn’t an image of me having some sort of dialogue with the man. Rather it is a snapshot that I can pull up, briefly bow my head to, and go back to my diseased riddled mind.

The only difficulty in trying and defining your own God is that everyone has a say. From scientists, to friends, to family, to strangers on sitting on the bench. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has an answer, and in my mind everyone could possibly be wrong. That’s my truth about religion – everyone could be wrong.

It is a quest that I have been on for most of my life. Granted during the darkest days I can often be more open to answers, but in my everyday life, I like the questions to come to me and allow me to find the answer I need. Is my religion and my approach to religion the best way? One could easily argue that it is not. Is my religion even feasible? One could easily argue that it is not. It allows me not comfort, but allows my brain to find a way to try and answer questions not even Plato, Freud, Gandhi, MLK, the Pope or anyone else has ever provided. Maybe I am going to hell because of the answers I have found, but as long as God, whoever He is, takes care of my kids, I am ok. I won’t fight to have my answers proven. But I will search them out on my knees and deep in my heart.