Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Faith Shaken

Let me begin by explaining my religious background.  I am a Unitarian Universalist and I have been my whole life.  I grew up in a UU family and attended church almost every week.  I have been a part of this religion for over 30 years, yet I still struggle to explain the creed of our church.  The best way to describe the set of beliefs set forth is the Golden Rule; Treat others as you would like to be treated.  All people are accepted in our church as they are, spiritualists, Agnostics, Atheists, Intellectuals, Straight, Gay and Transgendered.  It is a religion that does not impose beliefs, instead it expects acceptance.

While growing up in the UU church it was expected of me to create my own set of beliefs.  Was there a god, and what did that figure mean to me?  I still don't know the answer to that question, but it has been a stimulating one to ponder over the years.  I have always leaned towards the belief that there is a greater power.  Some people may call that God.  I liked to believe that in times of great stress I could turn to this power and pray.  I never really expected miracles, just a feeling of support and comfort from knowing that I wasn't alone.

Now that I have been through the greatest tragedy of my life I find that I have a new viewpoint.  I have come to one realization;  God does not meddle in our lives. 

Before this year I have never known anyone who has lost a baby or child (not including 1st trimester pregnancy loss).  Since the death of my son and daughter I have encountered a countless number of parents that have been through a loss.  Some similar to my experience, others completely different but equally painful.  I started to do some Internet research on the statistics of infant mortality rates.  In the U.S. approximately 20% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage before 20 weeks.  Loss of a baby after 20 weeks is approximately .5%.  It may not sound like much, until you are one of the parents of a miscarriage or death of an infant.

It is hard for me to imagine that there is any God that would allow or even cause these terrible things to happen, not to mention all of the other catastrophic things that happen in this world.  Some people say that everything happens for a reason, it's part of God's plan.  I have a hard time accepting this.  God can't possibly want people to suffer.  If this is God's test of me, I have failed.  I don't like to give labels, but I guess I am agnostic.  There may be a greater power, there may not.  If there is, I know It is not concerned with how often one attends church or what their specific creed is.  This greater power is there for reasons unknown to me.

In one aspect my faith has been strengthened, my faith in humanity.  I have been truly astounded at the outreach of my friends, family & even strangers.  Every card that was send to our house, every vase full of flowers, every prayer said in our honor, every meal that was brought to our door, every phone call and every e-mail that I received showed me how incredible the people are that surround me.  I am amazed how many people have reached out to say a simple "I'm sorry" or "I'm thinking about you".

Some people may pity me for not having a strong faith in God.  They may wonder how I can possible get through this awful loss without that relationship.  My answer is simple, I have faith in you.  I believe that you have the power to make someone feel loved and supported.  You may not always have the right words, but the warmth and kindness is there.  I hope that I can someday return the favor and be a shoulder to cry on or a pillar of strength when needed.  God knows, we need each other.

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