Are You There God? It’s Me Catherine

Up until recently, my faith in God was unshakable. If you had asked me then why I was religious and why I believe, I always said the same thing: When I ask, God listens.

So when the doctor told us the baby wasn’t growing and the pregnancy would not continue, I begged God to listen.  I prayed more than I ever have in my 37 years of living a religious life.

Imagine the person you love the most in this world was teetering on the brink of death. I assume you would call on God or whoever deity you believe in, and if not a deity, then cross all your fingers, legs, and toes. That’s how I felt. Crazed at the idea of that love being taken away.

I prayed so much, I prayed in my dreams. I asked others to pray too. Baby be safe. Baby be strong. I wanted the baby to come into this world and be held. Not by the saints or by God in heaven. I wanted the baby to be cradled by me, it’s mother, here on earth, in the flesh. Are you there God? I’m asking please. Please listen.

No heartbeat.

That’s when I turned away from God. I wouldn’t be human if I said my faith wasn’t shaken. Because I am hurt and angry and sorrowful.

Have I turned atheist? No.

Do I still believe in God? Yes.

Am I mad at God? YES!

Am I talking to God? I am taking a break as I tend to my grief. I feel let down. And don’t feel like talking to him right now. Except that I do, because I believe. So every once in a while I sneak in a plea. God, please take care of my baby up there.

Reader Comment

This is a reader comment from my post yesterday that I would like to bring to the forefront as it’s given me some reassurance after dealing with more flak than I could handle yesterday. Got into a heated argument with a friend and he essentially said he questions my character for belonging to the Catholic faith. That is a big sharp stab in the heart. Hurts even more as I prayed for him and his partner to be blessed with the child they have now. Seems like the care I put into the friendship matters little.

Anyhow, I’ve been in a glum mood, but looking to move past it. Everyone who commented helped ease the pain. Robin’s comment below. I follow her very courageous and beautiful blog here.

I am sorry people have been unkind and judgmental to you.  Any organization is going to have weak members.  There are always those who are members in name only, not in practice.  I’m not Catholic, but I have a great admiration for those who dedicate themselves to the worship of God — in any religion.  Anyone who tries to become a better person, who tries to improve their corner of the world, who serves others is a good person in my eyes.  I am saddened when people lose their faith because their leaders prove they are human.  Or because of the behavior of a few members of the faith.  The truth of the gospel doesn’t depend on the people.  The truth is the truth.

Congratulations on the new Pope.  From what I’ve read it sounds like he is a good man who has great potential to bring peace, unity, and healing.  He and your church are in my prayers during this time of transition.

On Raising Children without God

In one of the highest viewed posts to CNN’s iReport site, a contributor recently posted her views on religion in an article titled ‘Why I Raise My Children without God.’ While I am a regular church-going, daily-praying Catholic, I staunchly respect her view. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. What kind of society would we live in if we could force our religion, our politics, our personal beliefs on others? What would that say about our religion, our values, our ability at acceptance if we refused to acknowledge counter-points?

The CNN blogger rightly brings up interesting rebuttals to the presence of God. I understand that it would be difficult to believe in a deity who cannot be seen or heard. She writes, “No imaginary person is going to give us the answers or tell us why. Only we have the ability to be logical and to problem solve, and we should not abdicate these responsibilities to “God” just because a topic is tough or uncomfortable to address.” I can fully appreciate that instead of believing, she’s going to take accountability and work to solve problems. There are too many religious people who say that everything is God’s will which drives me bat-shit-cray-cray. God helps those who help themselves. Get it together, people!

I believe in God mainly because I was raised in the faith. If I hadn’t been forced to go to church every week, or attend Catholic schools, or pray every night, I probably wouldn’t believe either. Instead, I was immersed in Catholicism. My best friends believe. I married a man who, along with his family, shares my religion.

Did I ever question the existence of God? Of course, because I am a free thinker! But at the end of the day, I don’t have scientific evidence. I can’t give a powerpoint presentation with specific bullet points on why God is all-knowing. This is why it’s called faith. Is it blind faith? Of course not. Everyone has their own road to believe or not. But I can personally say that God listens. That is my truth and that’s what’s important. It’s actually all that matters.

Because religion is important to me, I will raise my child in the faith. That includes church, prayers, and all the rituals that go along with Catholicism. It includes private Catholic school which for me is non-negotiable. I want my kid to be loved by our faith, to love the faith, but most importantly to have a foundation of love and acceptance.

Funeral and Faith

I attended the funeral today of my uncle who died suddenly and unexpectedly from a rare, acute form of leukemia. Even on a normal day, I consider myself emotionally hypersensitive. So seeing my aunt red-eyed and hearing people’s voices start to crackle, I couldn’t stop the tears from dropping.

But there were a couple things that consoled me. Primarily, the priest’s homily was very powerful. I go to church all the time. I’ve heard a bazillion homilies. Most of them are boring. On any given Sunday, you can find me dozing off on a pew, catching some ZZZs waiting for the priest to finally shut up. But this funeral homily really moved me. The priest talked about humanity’s fear of dying and our feelings of loss when we lose someone. All of those feelings are obviously very real and painful. Then he asked us if we had faith. Now most Filipinos are Catholic. Almost all Filipinos believe in God. So when you ask us if we have faith, by golly, we Filipinos have faith!

His message was uplifting and hopeful because he asked us to draw on our faith which is rooted in the promise of Jesus Christ—that in dying we will rise again. Jesus’s resurrection put an end to death as we know it. That there is another life, a better peaceful life. That is our religion. If I didn’t believe, then there’d be a lot more tears.

Rituals, also, are very consoling. The prayers that we say together. The songs that we sing from memory. I think normally we take rituals for granted, but when we bury one of our own, they become significant.

When someone dies without warning, you start questioning if you’re taking people for granted, whether you’re spending enough time with your loved ones. When you interact with someone, might it be the last time? Losing someone is hard, but family and faith make it bearable.