Recently I was asked a tough question, and I honestly don’t know why I turned it into something less than what I truly believe. Now, I don’t know whether or not I can rebuild that relationship because Faith and Jesus is a large part of their lives. Who knows, maybe they will read this, and maybe they will understand that I was just taken off guard and I now understand what I truly meant to say.
Switchfoot released a new song at midnight from the Unbroken: Path to Redemption, it’s called You Found Me, it was on my release radar, so I listened to it. I was looking for an answer, for a way to stop the pain, when You came to me with healing. I closed my eyes, and let the lyrics do their job.
When you don’t grow up around a church setting it is hard to know what it means to believe in a God. Sure, you hear about it, read about it. You grow up and hear people talking about faith and how Jesus changed their life in one way or another. You read article after article about self-love, romance, struggle. But there is not much out there about faith or what Jesus means to someone.
I grew up with a copy of the illustrated version of the Bible. I could recite, almost word for word, the story of Noah and his arc. I would pretend I was Eve. I would sit in my backyard and talk to the animals, listen to the wind and talk to the spirits. I could sit out there for hours before I would be called in and questioned about who I was talking to – I always had a name, some person that I had a connection with. I remember talking to my Great-Grandfather, whom I only met when I was a newborn, knowing things I couldn’t have known unless I had a real conversation with him. I remember talking to J, that’s what he told me his name was, he made one of the biggest impacts on me – so, that’s truly where this story begins.
J came to me one Summer morning when I was swinging, back and forth – repeat. His voice ringed so loudly in my ears, it was like he wanted me to notice him, to let him in. He sounded warm, inviting. It felt like he was there with me, helping my little legs as he pushed me. He told me a story of how he never had toys like this, how hard his life had been. He told me that even though I didn’t know about him, that he would always be there for me. He told me that I could always count on him for advice, for guidance, for release. He told me that I could always talk to him, any day of the week, time wasn’t a construct he had any use for.
I was 7 or 8.
I didn’t question it. I just thought it was another voice, another relative that maybe wanted me to know their story. So, I listened. I would close my eyes at night and talk to him before bed. Maybe that was my first true encounter with praying.
Because now I am starting to believe that J was more.
A few years later I lost the most important person in my life, I was lost and everything was dark. At 10, an utterly complete sadness came and I fell silent. J stopped talking because I told him it was pointless to talk to nothing. I guess you can say, with developing depression at such a young age, I lost my faith. I turned my back on J because if he said that he would be there for me in all of my times of need, how in the world could this much suffering exist if he is the person he said he was?
I grew up, more bad shit happened that I have never really talked about (that’ll come with time), and I realized that I wasn’t alone. All over the world, so many people experience great traumas or loss, do they automatically reject their God? Some do, but most don’t. They understand that maybe, in some way, the plan changed, and some greater good is needed somewhere else.
And if I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason,” then there has to be a journey for all of us. If we stray from the plan, somewhere faintly your internal GPS says “recalculating.” And your road is detoured slightly, but the end result is always the same, it’ll just take a little longer to get there.
Maybe I have had that connection all along. Maybe I just didn’t want to admit to it because I disagree with Religion as a whole. But I am still telling this story because I need you to know that I do have that connection, I have that presence that I can feel, every single day. I can feel J again.
Maybe I just needed you to remind me.