I’ve had moments when I have envied the truly devout

norwich-cathedralSometimes I envy those who have an abiding religious faith. Not a lot of the time, but ‘sometimes’. In times of duress or fear mainly.

Now, I wouldn’t call myself an atheist or even an agnostic or an apostate (does it mean anything that all the nouns applied to those of lapsed faith start with the letter ‘a’? Probably not. Anyway, I wouldn’t apply any those words to me primarily because they demand a level of commitment I just don’t have. You know, you would have to believe in the criteria of your ‘disbelief’.

But, like all of us, I have had times of torment and at such times I have envied those of firm belief who actually hold the concept there is a Godhead looking out for them. And when I am in duress I tell myself I believe that, too. I mean to say, it’s not that matters clerical are alien to me. I was forced to go to Sunday school when I was a kid. And I was confirmed into the Anglican Church. You know what Anglican is; It’s Catholicism Lite and was created so Henry VIII could have his wanton way with Anne Boleyn. And if any Anglicans are offended by such assertions, I too am officially an Anglican so I’m entitled to be flippant.

Anyway I got confirmed and that was about the end of it for me. I mean, we are talking about God and belief and I have tended to think that there is no reason a fellow (or woman) who wears a collar back to front knows anything more about God than I do. I am not being insufferably arrogant about the matter, but just because a person attended a lot of divinity classes it doesn’t necessarily put that person in better touch with the eternal verities. If it did I’d sign onto theology courses in a heartbeat.

So, does that mean I am a stranger to prayer? No, it does not. Ironically (perhaps) I do pray. It keeps me in touch with whatever cosmic muffin is there. I have to form an image so to me God looks like the guy with the extended finger in the da Vinci painting. You know, white beard and all. I do give prayers of thanks and I do give prayers of ‘fear’.

Does this make my a hypocrite? Probably. And it also makes me envious of those who think they know what it’s all about. And if they really believe what they believe, then God love ’em.

Once, in a time of great despair I happened to find myself in Norwich, England. And in my despair I wandered into the magnificent edifice of Norwich Cathedral – I mean, if you are going to pray why not go someplace cool? And pray I did, with great emotion.

I am not sure if my prayers worked but slowly things got better – much better. So, a decade later I found myself in Norwich again and I made a return visit to the cathedral. And therein I gave thanks. It felt good.

 

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6 responses to “I’ve had moments when I have envied the truly devout

  1. roselefebvre24@comcast.net

    I loved what you shared about the emotions i the cathedral. You do have faith and it touched me. I find quiet places where I feel, touch, breathe my love of my God. Have you ever read the book THE SHACK by William Paul Young? I have always had faith and his book gave me a new look on it. “God” in it is what is needed at the moment. It is a book about faith and feelings and so much more. Starts off sad and eases into it all. It is a novelette. I have been faithful and I have been blessed. Been through several difficult times but always persevered. I am not a strong person and my faith and belief has helped me so much. It is a part of me.

    • Well Rose, in your faith I envy you in a way but I cannot make such a commitment. In moments of distress, as I indicated, my barriers break down but it’s not a continuum. I am not familiar with the book you mention,

  2. I don’t believe in a higher power. I’ve tried, but I just can’t make myself believe in anything. I think that in hard times, it must be easier or at any rate way more comforting if you do believe that this isn’t all there is.

  3. Sharon Merke Urdahl

    An interesting read Ian, I feel much the same, there is a seeking for comfort in times of despair when we can no longer comfort ourselves and fear takes over. I also have gone to a church in times of need, to try to find that peace and belief I knew as a child…that someone much greater than I had it all under control…that to just give it to ” the old man upstairs” and he will deal with it. As a child I was devout…as an adult a doubter… The “Spirit” or “Soul” is so elusive, there have been stretches in my life when I felt the calm, centred presence of “God/Goddess”, that meaning, the wholeness of being connected to everything and everyone at a much deeper spiritual level. I have never been able to “follow blindly”, as by nature I am a person who must always delve deeper for meaning…the cliché, “a seeker of truth” would probably be a proper definition of who I am and not only at a Spiritual level. I question and take apart, find the connections and similarities and then cast a doubt. A philosopher of sorts…and, hard to believe, I at one time actually wanted to study theology…
    But, I would like too believe…it must be so comforting to have such trust…My problem is, I am a skeptic, I see how all the puzzle pieces fit together…how the “Christ” stories began centuries before Jesus. The image of God as a real being doesn’t work for me…but I pray…I recognise the “God / Goddess ” energy of us all, of that “something” that is “greater than”…the “goodness” of what we are…soul and spirit…energy or what ever we want to call it. Now I must go and pray, for it is World Prayer Day and I do believe the combined “thoughts” of many do have power…I pray for peace…

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