I remember as a teenager having real battles with my father on this issue. Ours was a religiously split household, and to profess a faith in his Roman Catholic God or my mother’s Protestant God of Love was to reject beloved family members on the other “side”. As the oldest child I bore the brunt of their disagreements. These got worse when I reached Confirmation age. I refused. I refused to reject any of my family or their religion. I also refused to just go through the motions to please an aging and dominant grandmother. I insisted that was MY choice to make as an adult. I tried to explain to him that I wasn’t sure how much of the Bible I believed, but I had Faith in … Faith itself was the best I could articulate it at 17. I used to pray daily, directing my attention to whatever Force ‘out there’ might be listening. “show me the path you would have me walk.”
In my mid twenties life brought me to KS, and one day as I perused the Kansas City Star, my eye landed on the talk title for that Sunday: “Integrity” at a place called Unity Church of Overland Park. where was that? And the next morning I got up early and drove the 42 miles from Leavenworth to UCOP for the first time. Hearing the music and Rev. Mary Omwake speak, I knew my heart had found its home. ❤️
That was many years ago now. Today I am unchurched again, living in RI, near (but not too near) my parents, far from the spiritual communities that nourished me so. I have lived through betrayals and griefs, seen much more of the world’s darkness. Life has been harder than I ever imagined it would be. Yet somehow I still find the sweetness, the Good, wherever and whenever I choose to look for it.
And whether I identify myself with any religion or like the Dalai Lama simply say, my religion is kindness, I wholeheartedly embrace the definition of Faith given in Hebrews 11:11 “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the certainty of things not seen.”
Faith to me now is the calm certainty that there is Good to be found or made in any situation, and if I am not seeing it, then perhaps it is mine to BE it.