In my entire life, I never saw a purpose for religion. I went through the motions as a kid, attending CCD classes every year by no choice of my own, getting my first communion and confirmation. It wasn’t a choice, and I hated every second of it. It made me feel like we were supposed to have religion in our lives, it wasn’t something we chose. Eventually, I chose to read about religions on a spiritual or intellectual level, not as a journey of discovery. My bookshelves eventually became covered in Wiccan books. At first I’ll admit it was to see the reactions on my family’s face as they saw my interest grow in “the devil’s art”. It was a fascination though, and I found them to be interesting. No, I’m not a Wiccan. I don’t prefer to follow or celebrate any religion. I won’t call myself an Atheist though, I’m definitely not that. I hate labels, but if I had to label myself into a religious belief I would classify myself as Agnostic.
It wasn’t until I had my first son though, that I found comfort in at least taking a shot in the dark by asking whatever would listen in my head to watch over my son. Now, I still do that for both of my boys. I wouldn’t call it a prayer, I don’t say “God, take care of them”. I say “please make sure my boys are safe while they sleep”. I feel a little ashamed admitting this, especially as I definitely admit a distaste for organized religions as a whole. I do believe we need to instill some sort of belief system in our children if for no other reason than to open them up for the choice to have a religion in their life. I’ve baptized both my sons, and my oldest has attended CCD every year since he became of age to and he has had his first communion. I believe strongly that, if nothing else, I should let him decide for himself when he’s an adult to do whatever he wants in that department but he should get all the “starter” stuff done while he’s young. Which I suppose is exactly what my parents did despite my hating every second of it.
Now I have the looming fear of my son’s surgery coming up, as I wait for my appointment card to come in to schedule his next appointment with the surgeon in 3 months, with a tentative 5 month wait until his surgery. I don’t normally admit fear, I suck it up and hope that I retained my laid-back “no worries” demeanor while I’m really biting all my nails nervously in my head. In the car with my husband, I heard myself ask a question I’ve never considered. (My youngest son is named for my grandfather, side note that is relevant here.) “Do you think that if my grandfather is out there, that he’d watch over Georgie during his surgery?” I never considered the possibility that there was anyone watching from the afterlife. I assumed that once someone dies, the only afterlife for them is decay, maggots and dirt. It’s a cold and depressing way to think about death, but that’s the only way I’ve thought of it until that moment the question slipped out of my lips. My husband, ever the kind person, indulged me. “I think so”, while discussing a scientific view of matter never dying, it just simply changes form and that it’s possible. I felt better, a little bit.
This isn’t the first time I’ve ever needed something to believe in. But I think everyone at some point in their lives decide they need something to cling onto when you feel like you need a little extra strength. I think that’s why religion exists. I don’t remember the last time I prayed, I really prayed. I’ve said prayers in church like you’re supposed to. I’ve had kind thoughts for people I knew needed them. But I don’t remember every saying “Dear God, could you give me a little hand here?” Sometimes you really just need to have a little faith because you don’t know if you can get through it.