In one of my earliest memories, I'm lying in bed with my mother perched beside me...teaching me..."Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep..."
A few years later, she decides I'm old enough for a little more..."Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..."
The past couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot about my faith journey - what I believe and don't believe and why - so these memories have been playing over and over in my head.
Someone recently expressed the theory to me that if no one had told me about religion, I would never have developed the concept of mass faith. Maybe that's true...(maybe if no one had told him about atheism, he would never have developed the concept that belief in God is delusional or irrational.)
Today is my mother's birthday. Last year, I came up with a list of 77 things that she had taught me, so today I'm adding another to that list. It's probably the most important thing she taught me...something I guess I've always taken for granted until this friend pointed it out to me...
My mother taught me that God is. She didn't tell me about 'religion'...she introduced me to Jesus. The nitpicky differences between Christians...those weren't that important. By her example, she taught me that what was important was learning to talk to him; to listen; to try to follow his will for my life; to lean on him; to ask forgiveness; to love and respect others no matter what they believed, to look for commonalities, but to hold on to my faith, even when it's hard.
It has been hard at times. She didn't force her beliefs on me, didn't try to censor me from beliefs that were different from hers, but left me to form my own. My path has gone up and down and I've fallen off a few times, but as she told me one time, if you've never had something, you don't know what it is you're missing later or where to find it. You just know there's a void inside of you.
I was blessed with a mother who had already experienced more than her share of trials, tribulations, and disappointments, but through them had learned to count her blessings, and depend more on God's strength rather than turn away from him or blame him...and because she loved us, she shared that faith with us.
Thank you, Mama! I hope you have a wonderful birthday! I love you!