Over the last couple of months, I have met more than one person who tagged themselves as spiritual. It irritates me. Probably because I haven’t quite come to terms with my own beliefs, and the spiritual moniker strikes me as a little presumptuous. I think the term spiritual should come with some sacrifice. Go walk around with a hair shirt and live in a cave, and then maybe.
At the same time, I have felt pressure to come to terms with God. I have a kid, and I am going to have to tell him something. Right now, my religious/spiritual beliefs are this mixed bag of wishy washy mumbo jumbo musings. It would be a whole lot easier if I were religious. However, I can’t stand the idea of telling him something I don’t 100% believe in.
When I was growing up, I desperately wanted to be a nun. This strikes some people as odd, but in my Catholic neighborhood, the nuns had the most exciting lives around. They went off on missions to places like Africa and Australia. I contrasted that to the women in my neighborhood that had 8 kids and were beaten on Saturday nights. Joining a convent sounded pretty good.
Alcoholism runs in my family, and by the time I was in high school, I had developed a fine case of it. Along with that, I became, how shall we say this, sexually adventuresome. The convent idea was becoming less viable.
By the time I hit my twenties, I was very sick from drugs and alcohol and entered recovery. By this time, I had no beliefs at all. I wasn’t an atheist. I just didn’t think the question was really important. I was told to pray for a day of sobriety in the morning, and say a prayer of gratitude at night. I was told that it didn’t matter if I believed it or not, to just do it. Remarkably, this worked. I haven’t had a drink or a drug in ten years.
You would think this would be the end of it, but yet, the doubt had never completely vanished from my mind. I was raised Christian, and the whole drama, the virgin birth, the miracles, the rising from the dead, just seem so unlikely.
However, I am a foxhole believer. When things get tough in my life, I do revert back to my childhood faith. I have to admit that things have always worked out, the last Con Con not withstanding.
So where does this leave me? And how do I communicate to my boy that there may be a God, and if there is, surely it is the most important fact of our existence. However, it’s hard to know?
When I was newly sober, an old timer said to me that it isn’t so important whether there is a God or not. What is important is my willingness to believe. I think that this is one of the most profound things I have ever heard. Maybe it’s not so important whether or not Jesus was the Savior, as the idea that we can be Saved.
And these are the two who saved me.