Written on March 29, 2014.
When I was young, I had such a fuzzy idea of God and religion. My dad was (still is) a devout non-practicing Catholic while my mom was a partially-devout born again Christian. They enrolled me in an all-girls private school run by nuns – where I studied from kindergarten to my freshman year of high school – but on Sundays, mom made sure I went to Sunday School.
The ideas held by the two faiths didn’t exactly oppose one another but their differences were obvious and stark, like dialects that varied in intonation but were ultimately rooted in one Greater Language.
After a lifetime of watching stories unfold, it isn’t hard to miss the fact that some people grapple with faith more than others do. But it was never that hard for me. It seems like I shot right into this world with a belief in a higher power and I have no idea why that is so. I am not the daughter of a clergyman. My parents don’t attend bible studies. My house is about as spiritual as a tree.
But the idea of God would not leave me. It nestled itself into a deep and permanent part of my heart.
I know it sounds nice. I know some people would kill to have an iota of faith. But faith is complicated. And in some ways, faith ruins you.
I’ve been hearing the story of Icarus again and again in the shows and movies that I watch. I’m choosing to take this as a sign. Because sometimes I feel like him, like the man with makeshift wings. Sometimes I demand for answers, ask God to give me empirical evidence of all the things I cannot seem to grasp. I shoot towards the sun, with great ferocity, looking to unravel the mystical and the mysterious, desperate to be right, to have all the answers, to understand.
It is when I demand, when I act entitled to the answers, that the wings burn and I crash.
I never stop believing in God. But I do not always like him.
That’s the frustrating thing about this whole faith thing — it’s almost like an abusive boyfriend. Because no matter how many walls I hit, no matter how many question marks I arrive at, no matter how many people disprove the idea of an Intelligent Designer, I stay. I can’t imagine a universe without God even though he sometimes thwarts my stubborn need to know everything.
Faith ruins you but it ruins you well. I’m starting to live with the questions, to enjoy the mystery of the divine. I’m learning not to figure it all out because a God that can fit into a box of answers is no God that I want (or deserve) to have.
I want something infinite and divine, with a larger view of the universe than my small and feeble mind.
Maybe this doesn’t make sense to some of you.
Maybe you’re still wrestling.
Maybe you don’t like God all that much right now.
Maybe God is more of a concept than a reality to you.
I don’t know where you fall in the spectrum of spirituality but I hope that you believe in something so much that it paves the stretch of road that you’re on. I hope it changes you and fills you with meaning. I hope it drives you towards great frustration and great joy, towards a sweet kind of madness. I hope it drives you into an amazing sort of wreckage, the kind you’ll always think of as worth it.