This post asked the question as to whether I was religious or not. I hope you find it as interesting to read as I did to write.
Happy Beautiful day,
KT Smiles xx
I’m currently sat in a very sunny spot in the garden. My garden bench is nestled in a quiet corner surrounded by the sweet smelling honeysuckle and I can hear a wonderfully cheerful chorus of birds- yet I live in the suburbs and one of the city’s busiest roads can be heard mumbling in the background. But why do I tell you this? Well the answer is God.
My whole life has been a mystery of faith. It is my firm belief that you are either born to walk in the light of God or you’re not. Just like they used to push everyone into a swimming pool and tell them to ‘learn to swim’ and you either figured it out or drowned…ok that maybe a bit harsh but is it?
When I was 5 I was taken to Sunday School which I HATED with a passion. I remember a vicar standing there blabbing on about something I never understood so instead of listening I used to run around the pews and chase my brother and sister. Church was boring and the seat were uncomfortable. I also had to ‘look nice’ for lots of people I didn’t know and wasn’t interested in. But why?
At the same time I vividly remember around the same age a local priest coming in and talking about grain of rice. He told us that ‘a handful of rice could feed a thousand people’. While some were in awe, others were confused and the rest didn’t care. Had they found God? he told us the parable of the forgiving servant (Matthew 18: 21-35) where ‘the characters’ were forgiven. So why talk about rice?
Well, I believe the message was selfishness is a sin. Yes rice tastes good once it’s cooked but surely to plant that grain of rice would feed far more people than to cook it? They ever taught me this in R.E. But that got me wondering- why does a class about religion have to be so specific? And is it better to be born with no faith and learn to make your own choices? In the words of a very good friend:
‘I think it should be taught in senior schools as a non-denominational subject covering all the major religions and secular humanism, to promote genuine understanding and tolerance of different beliefs, and an opportunity for free-will and personal choice, rather than moulding younger children into one particular belief system first’
So is faith down to education or is it a matter of the strength of the parents’ influence?
Whatever the question, I don’t remember much more than than ‘share your food for it will do you goo’. And so from then on I was different…
Without knowing I’d come closer to God yet he had abandoned me. I had no friends, facebook didn’t really exist and well my parents were pretty agnostic so asking abut God didn’t really help either. So, what’s a girl to do? Fundraise.
I can’t really remember my first charity event. Perhaps it was standing on a dead street with a collection box or perhaps it was a bake sale I’m not sure but whatever it was, I was happy to see the smiles on people’s face when they felt they’d done something good….But that still didn’t answer the question about God.
So when I was 13 I gave up looking for God and went to catholic school. Apparently, agnostics don’t go to catholic school. I’m not really sure what drove me there other than the hope of making some more friends and also a massive gut instinct it was the right thing to do. Fast forward 10 years and I’ve seen an awful lot! I prayed to st.anthony for the countless times I lost my keys, I prayed to st. Lorenzo before every food exam so I didn’t burn my cakes and I prayed to Mother Mary for the countless times I was just ‘in need’. For when I was hungry she was there to feed me. I also had a lot of bible study in RE lessons but I never understood the meaning of it completely. The Sisters of Mercy had taught me well yet I still didn’t believe in God. So I joined the school choir, toured a lot of Europe, sang in ‘the Pope’s house’ (yes really!) and took mass in 3 different languages over the space of a few years…but I still didn’t believe. Ok so that’s a lie, I had been converted to a ‘spiritual’ believer- but one of the sisters said that’s what people say when they don’t believe. I was still confused. Was I still agnostic?
It wasn’t until I’d been through a breakup, 2 suicide attempts and a deep depression to make me realise I really needed help. I was still homeless and a stranger. So, I went into hospital where I met a christian called Sam. Sam explained the gospels to me and we were able to have a deep conversation about what a lot of them meant- I guess that’s what happens when you bring up a kid ‘in the faith’. She’s possibly the kindest and most patient person I know and I’m sure she’ll go very far one day. Faith keeps her alive. She taught me what love was- that is what it is to be loved by God and the mysterious ways he works. She also taught me what the beatitudes mean and what it means to be baptised….but I was still agnostic….
…I was agnostic to the fact that you can only be baptised into one faith yet ‘god forgives everyone,’ so is it really a sin to be baptised into more than one ‘family’ of God? In search of the answer, I go to church twice a week but I belong to 2 families. The first believes the bible is literal (I don’t but I like the discussion) while the other takes it as a metaphor for love and forgiveness (but is socially awkward until ‘there’s peace) so am I a criminal? And if I believe in more than one family does that make me Agnostic?
I’m sick and I’m tired so I’m asking the priest to give me the last rights. I’d like my right to be respected for having and following a faith rather than being chastised in the play ground. Forgive me dad, for I have sinned. I have sinned as I slept with so many people before I knew what the sacrament really meant. Should they have taught that in RE? I have sinned as I was attacked and I wished them the same fate and I have sinned for I have lived a lie my whole life. I have been a hermit and a nun and a prostitute and a thief- yet Jesus forgave all of them. So I’m asking now, if my sins are to be forgiven, should I still take a vow of chastity? Or should I remain agnostic? Is it too late to learn that patience really is a virtue? Is it just ‘too soon’ to realise that society has moved on too quick in the rush to be normal and grow up into the strong and educated people we’re meant to be. To be or not to be, that is the question..? I’ll let you help me decide
Happy Beautiful day readers!
may the road rise to meet you,
may the wind always be at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rain fall softly upon your fields and,
until we meet again,
may god always hold you in the palm of his hand.
Katie Smiles x