Recently I was sitting in the waiting room of a cancer hospital in hopes of finding out if what is “probably nothing” is actually nothing. I looked around and found myself counting my blessings and praying for those surrounding me and, maybe selfishly, myself.
It seems like an overwhelming number of my closest friends and loved ones have found themselves waiting in hospitals recently. And as I hear each story of waiting, my first instinct is always to pray. To lower my head, close my eyes and pray and plead and hope that everything turns out ok.
The funny…or maybe sad…thing is, I don’t really know who I am praying to. I know I am praying to a higher being. A God. But am I praying to my God? Our God? The God?
When I started this blog, I had a lot of people reach out to me about what helped them get through dark times and most of them found peace in one of two places: a church or a gym.
Ironically, I haven’t seriously considered either of these places until recently. Until I became close to someone who finds much of his peace in both. In the past, I have found peace in nature, in writing, in talking through my thoughts, in a healthy diet, in my bed, in books, in music and in the company of loved ones. Honestly, I have been avoiding both the gym and the church, maybe subconsciously, but avoiding them nonetheless.
The gym was an easy sell. I have found peace in the gym in the past. The only thing that has been holding me back from the gym is intimidation and motivation. I know and understand the science behind it. I understand all of the benefits. There is no denying them. My brain understands and accepts science.
And although my brain often has trouble grasping concepts not based in science, I don’t think my struggle is with faith. I have faith. I have faith that there is a higher being. And that that higher being had a hand in engineering the amazing human body. That our souls live on after our bodies cease to. And that having faith, and believing in the difference between good and bad, helps us as individuals and a society, live better lives.
My struggle is with the idea of choosing a religion, of narrowing it down to one church. I don’t understand why we need to know exactly who that divine being is and what the “rules” are to leading a good life, the right life. As I see it, dissecting our faith, is often what divides us. And maybe that’s why I avoid church.
I want to believe in a higher being that is accepting. That opens his or her arms to anyone who seeks him or her. Who forgives and understands and listens to all of our prayers and goes by many different names. Who provides guidance and support and inspiration.
In the midst of a time when we are reminded of our differences on almost a daily basis, I would like to instead focus on our commonalities. I would like to believe that there are no religions that are right or wrong, but that just having faith is right.