Hello again, fine friends!
I was on the fence about taking time out of every day to write this blog, but yesterday’s post really cemented in my mind that this was something that needs to happen. It was cathartic. It was fun. It was almost like meditation.
Something that I’ve wanted to write about since founding this blog is my stance on religion and spirituality. While I wouldn’t call it unique, it’s a blend of some of my Mormon beliefs from my adolescence with other things I’ve picked up over time. In short, I’m a Christian, but one who would probably get punched in the face by some future saint at the Council of Nicaea and run out of town. All parts of my faith are important to me, and I try to follow them. I fall short a lot (read: always), but I believe that God hears me and steers me back to where he needs me to go. Here are some of my beliefs…
I believe that families and people who love each other will be together forever if they so choose. Mormons hold that people need to be sealed in the temple for this to happen, but I believe that I’ll see my dad, my husband, my grandmother, uncle, and more when I get to wherever I land. I don’t think it would be only exclusive to faithful Mormons. Since leaving the Church last year, that was something I grappled with, but when my then-future husband came down to Texas last May from Alaska to where I lived in Texas, I asked him out of the blue whether he believed we would be together after death. The answer from both of us was a resounding yes. I also hold to Mormon beliefs that there was a spirit world before Earth and some of us meet each other here and just know we have met before somehow. My friend Amy is one such example. Over the course of a four hour car ride, we just clicked and I’ve always felt like I’d known her before that time.
Another belief I hold strongly to is that the souls of the dead don’t ever truly leave us. I have felt my dad’s influence strongly after he died in 2016, and it has gotten stronger in recent times. My husband and I came to the conclusion that we were brought together by my dad nudging my husband to talk to me again after six whole years of no contact between us.
I believe that there is a plan for everything. Sometimes it seems senseless, but I think there is nothing that is entirely good or entirely evil. Good things can come from bad things, and vice versa.
I also believe that God is love and that everything we need comes from him in the times that we need it.
Faith and life’s journey are intensely personal in my mind, and nobody should force their faith on another. That kills the personal nature of it. If I want to teach someone, it’s only because they want to hear it, not because I’m trying to proselytize. I was once a proselytizer, and I think I was annoying. I want to preach by actions, and not by telling everyone I love Jesus and then doing nothing about it. I believe that if one is living the word they adhere to, they will shine and people will be curious about how they get their strength and joy. I’m not there yet.
Things that baffle me
I don’t understand heaven. I know it’s a thing that people want and supposedly it’s a place of rest and happiness forever. I can see how people would desire to live there. But the thing that catches me is that if you’re happy forever and there is nothing to contrast that happiness, how on Earth do you know you’re eternally happy?
The only way I have seen it that I like is the Mormon take on Heaven. The afterlife is a place of progression where souls learn things they could not have learned on Earth. I like that. I don’t see the point in sitting around being eternally joyful. There has to be a catch somewhere.
It baffles me as well that some people believe that Heaven will only house Christians. What about all of the other good people in the world? And what about all of the bad Christians? I would rather live next to a Muslim who lives their faith well than a Christian who steps on others. Faith without deeds is dead. Controversial opinion: I don’t think Jesus would be pleased with the people who claim to know and love him and then do the opposite of what he taught in his name.
So where does that put me?
I know Heaven is a thing. I just don’t want to participate. It doesn’t sound pleasant or even restful. Frankly, it sounds like oblivion. I may change my mind, and there ARE people I want to see again. Maybe I’m speaking too much from years of depression, but I honestly don’t want to exist for longer than I have to.
Hell is a different matter. It doesn’t scare me. There are days here that could very well rival it, and Shakespeare put it best:
Hell is empty, all the devils are here.
Don’t get me wrong on all of this, I want to live on. I want to live on in the form of memories people have of me, in my future children, in the legacy I will leave. But if I say that I would brave an afterlife for someone, I mean that and I don’t say that lightly. Call it depressing, but it’s my story.
Things that I wish people would accept
God hears and loves everyone. He gives everyone good gifts, whether they deserve them or not. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t deserve them. I mess up all the time. I can be mean. I can be selfish. I can be vengeful. But I am still loved, and so are you, dear readers. It doesn’t matter who you are. You are special in the eyes of your Higher Power.
Everyone includes your grumpy sibling, the ex who abused and abandoned you, the lesbians next door, the protesters down the road whom you call snowflakes. God loves them and they have a path, too. I am thankful for the people who hurt me, for they opened the door to better things. I do my best to forgive them, for in that way I am giving myself a precious gift. I am giving myself freedom.
It’s so hard, especially if you’ve been deeply wounded. Take your time in forgiving them. You need time to heal, and part of this healing can very well be wrath. But when you can, leave it up to God or your Higher Power. And sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself. God will take care of the rest.
Also, God loves you. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you’ve done. I speak especially to the LGBT community. I speak especially to those with mental or physical illnesses. I speak especially to you. You are loved and important. You are not a mistake. You are meant to be where you are, doing the good you are doing. Don’t be afraid. It’s easier said than done, but you are powerful. You are made to do great things. Your body is yours, not anyone else’s. I wish everyone could understand that.
That’s my piece.
Until next time,