Part one, Part two
A while back I wrote this post. I had kind of assumed a close (religious) friend of mine read my blog. I don't know why I assumed that, I guess I thought we don't get to hang out much because of our different working hours, almost all of my other friends read it. Anyway. I thought she probably had read the post. She obviously hadn't when we eventually caught up earlier this year and ended up talking belief and faith, as we often do.
She was deeply shocked by what I said. I guess I said stuff similar to in the post, it wasn't long after I had written it that we talked. She then shocked me more. She said we were no longer sisters and that made her sad. She was sad we wouldn't be together in heaven. Despite catching up since then, things have changed. I was so hurt that by expressing my feelings, doubts, beliefs, that when they veered away from hers, from what is described as "basic principles that we can all agree on", I felt she had dumped me from her "Christian friends".
I was angry because I don't feel like I'm not a Christian. I don't think many Christians realise the wide variety of beliefs that are out there within there own. I don't understand who decides what these basic principles are. I don't think Christianity or any religion really should be simplified or distilled so much to be dot point-able. Basic principled. Life isn't like that, life is complicated, religion even more so. I hate to think that my friends are fretting over my being in heaven or not. Because at the end of the day all we know for sure is that we are here right now and we don't know what is next.
Anyway. Something similar happened again with another friend too, though unfortunately by email, and because I am much more powerful with a computer screen between myself and the recipient I responded angrily, which wasn't really fair. This year was about trying to be more truthful to people, so I expressed all the anger I was feeling, mostly from a sense of rejection, on to her.
I don't mean to criticise peoples beliefs. I think what I see as the 'Basic Principles' of Christianity are truly beautiful, worthy things. I just don't think some other things matter so much. This upsets people though. There is a yearning for truth and solid facts. I guess because the world is so fragile. Things can be changed in the blink of an eye. Life taken away so easily and people are rendered powerless in the wake of disease, accidents and plain bad luck. A solid truth is comforting and desirable. I crave that. But I can't convince myself of it, nor have I found anything that convinces me. That said, there is power in deciding to believe in something because you think it is worth it.
I was really looking forward to being 25. It kinda feels like I can be me now. I'm discovering who I am, and all that crap. But it's been hard and emotional. I like consistency and stability.
Disappointingly perhaps I don't have anything further to add to what I believe. Writing this all out hasn't given me a dot point of what I do and don't believe in, a list of what should be deemed important and inconsequential when it comes to faith, God, belief.
I also feel childish. I feel like I've lost a whole lot of learning. I feel scared. I'm scared of dying and I'm scared I'm wasting my time. I feel time spent away from the people I love is a waste. But only sometimes. Mostly I just really enjoy life and am remembering to be really thankful and trying to be really accepting. By which I mean not just nodding at whatever anyone has to say but, opening up my ears and listening, reflecting and challenging. I feel like I'm forming my very own opinions (as unoriginal as they may be) for the first time.
How to finish? I don't mean to commit to anything by this, I know that I still hold true to what I have written before. I’m most uncomfortable to quote myself but still…
And now... all I know is my tiny human brain will never understand the vast complexity of the world.
But what to do with this one piece of knowledge? I could leave it at that and just carry on experience and living. I could keep on seeking and seeking and seeking answers. Of which there are a multitude, owned by other people and even the ones that fall under the same name are all slightly different. Each believed through a different set of eyes. No two people believe the same thing. Surely?
I could piece little bits I hold to be true together... and try and wear it around me. But what does God think of that?
I know I can believe in a God who unwaveringly loves all, who loves and marvels at the Earth and everything living in it, who understands what it is to be human - the random irrationality of emotion, who loves freedom and choice, who is the master of mystery. That's what I want... but is that okay with Him?