Emily Dickinson :
I never saw a moor
I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea; Yet know I how the heather looks, And what a wave must be. I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot As if the chart were given.
Truth: I envy those with deep faith. I am not talking about religion. I am talking solely about faith. Faith that is quiet, calm and unwavering. It is my desire that I were someone who could take the twists and turns and upheavals that life throws in my path and be accepting of them. I wish I could take challenges with an utmost certainty that I am part of something greater and that there is purpose and meaning to the chaos that I struggle to make sense of.
Growing up in conservative New England, I was raised in the church. I spent Sunday mornings in Sunday School, followed by the Service. Sunday evenings were for Youth Group. I spent my summers attending church camp and went on many retreats. My grandfather, aunt and uncle sang in the choir and my grandmother was the cake baker for the monthly women's meetings. I remember her cooling the cakes on her porch. I loved when she would hand me the icing and allow me to help with the decorating. Faith and family intertwined. Home and church did too. It was warm and loving and smooth.
Frequently our extended family would gather after church service for Sunday dinner. Conversation flowed over baked hams and Yankee pot roast. Following dinner, the adults would talk over coffee and the children would play outdoors on the acres of land our family shared. Still in my church clothes, I would disappear into the woods with my cousins for hours.
My church was my sanctuary. I felt at home there. Safe. Happy. I remember sitting alone and enjoying the quiet of the library and hiding with friends and laughing in the choir room. I remember chasing my cousin around the church play yard and hopping the fence to catch him. My new dress caught on the chain link fence and ripped.
I was baptized in my church. Confirmed in my church. I moved out of state, but returned home to be married in my church. I've smiled during joyful occasions and I've sat through somber funeral services of beloved family members.
My children are being raised in church as well. Like me, they attend Sunday School and sing in the Christmas Programs and have a presence there. Like me, I hope it is a place where they find warmth and comfort and peace. As an adult, I enjoy the connection and the fellowship I find within the church community. I feel good when I am there.
My faith is not ideal. I falter and I waiver in my imperfection. At times, I question it. I would like to find a peace in knowing that things with M are how they are meant to be. I would like not to question, "Why M. Why our family?" I would like to know that although I may not understand the path I have been put on, this path, chosen for me, will take me to where I need to be. Many Sundays I have sat in service and looked at those around me and have wondered how they have been able to receive the calm understanding that faith offers and why I continue in my struggle not only to accept faith, but to understand it.
Mr. A and I have discussed this on many occasions throughout our marriage and especially since the birth of M. Mr. A references a scene from the movie Angels and Demons:
Tom Hank's character, Langdon, is seeking admission into the Vatican’s archives, but needs the priest's permission. Prior to rendering a decision, McKenna and Langdon have the following conversation:
McKenna: Do you believe in God, sir?
Langdon: Father, I simply believe that religion…
McKenna: I did not ask if you believe what man says about God, I asked if you believe in God.
Langdon: I’m an academic. My mind tells me I will never understand God.
McKenna: And your heart?
Langdon: Tells me faith is a gift that I have yet to receive.
There are times when I am strong and secure in my faith. Other times, the final line of this dialogue, taken from a Hollywood movie, best describes how I feel.
Like an excited child at Christmas searching under the tree, I hope one day to find this gift and to receive it.