|Faith When Failing ... or Flailing|
Shouldn’t I have figured out my faith and belief system by now? I know that I was always jealous of those around me who appeared to live a life of faith in a higher power. That faith seemed to provide them purpose, direction, inner peace and strength in surviving this chaotic and divisive society. Such a belief system also, from my outsider’s perspective, provided them with a way to feel fulfilled in a world that strives to make us always work harder and want more; sort of a “Keeping up with the Joneses” in the digital age.
Raised as mainly Hindu, with some Sikh influences, I really didn’t understand religion. It seemed like everything took too long (an hour long puja would have felt like a vacation), was very prescriptive (you need to bring the right items at the right time), and extremely hard to understand (speak words you don’t understand in a language that only priests fully understand). While the famous professor Joseph Campbell may say that religions need to maintain some level of mystique and challenge for the follower in order to increase buy-in and strength of connection, these two religions seemed too removed from my world to provide any pathways I mentioned above.
However, I’ve noticed that as I’ve grown, and especially in times of crisis, I have a greater desire to reach out for something larger than myself. For instance, when my mother passed away in January, it was Hinduism that provided my mom with the strength to make an important life-ending decision and me with a way to honor her passing. It has been with Hinduism, Sikhism, and some Christianity that I am formulating a way to mourn as well as how to talk to my son about his Dadima.
The greater the crisis, the greater the need I’ve had to reach out for a Higher Power to help me recognize my sins and provide me a path with support to move forward as a better more complete person. There are no atheists in foxholes…nor when someone feels like their life is falling apart or their choices have caused too many problems. Faith has helped me face my mistakes, begin to live my life consistently with my values, and realize redemption is a choice that requires work. My journey to faith has also made me realize what gifts and teachings I'd want for my son.
|Faith of Many|
A devout Christian friend said to me that because of her early indoctrination into her faith, she never gained the perspective of life without her belief system and church community. She felt lucky to always be able to lean on God, learn from texts, and be supported by His love and lessons. As an adult, I’ve found that finding one’s way “back” to faith may take more work, or a jarring life event, but can be equally fulfilling. While I may not know my path as yet I do know that there must be a higher power and can feel the changes He has helped me make and the influence He had has on my life. The journey, right now, feels really hard, but I do feel blessed to be able to be able to take on such a cognitive as well emotional and spiritual journey that will have meaningful and life-changing.
By: Jasdeep Singh