I just don't understand how people can live without a faith system. I'm Roman Catholic, but everyone doesn't have to be. You can be Jewish, Methodist, Buddhist, Islamic, Presbyterian, etc. I don't care. But I just feel, in my heart, that life is easier when you believe in something.
When you look into the eyes of a brand new baby, how can you not believe?
When your dad is dying and hasn't been lucid in weeks, and he looks you in the eyes and you KNOW he can understand you when you're saying goodbye to him and you're given your dad back for those few moments, how can you not believe?
When you spend a year with your mother-in-law, every night except two, spending time with her and caring for her because she's sick and dying and you're with her when she passes, peacefully and quietly and happily, how can you not believe?
I have a friend, a close friend, who's having a difficult life. She's not ill, or living in poverty, or starving, but she does have a somewhat dysfunctional family, severe financial difficulties, and she suffers from depression (which I suppose you could blame, in part, on her dysfunctional family). She's a very rational, analytical person. Every word, situation, glance is analyzed and analyzed again, in search of some hidden meaning. Nothing is just accepted at face value, sloughed off if it's annoying or unimportant. She has to think about it, stew over it, analyze it, until it festers in her soul. Sometimes I want to just say to her, "Your life sucks 'cause you don't believe in anything. Not in God. Not in a god. Not in mankind. Not in anything." Maybe if she'd find something to put some faith into, some way to believe in something, she'd find her way to a bit more happiness...Yesterday was my Aunt Eleanor's funeral. I stopped to speak with A & J, her son and daugther-in-law. They couldn't WAIT to talk with me. Apparently at the very end, Aunt Eleanor was fading, not talking very much, but she began to call out to people. She began to say hello. Hello to Sal (her brother who had died a couple of years ago) AND HELLO TO VIRGINIA. Virginia was my mother-in-law. She died in 2001. She and Aunt Eleanor were thisclose. Aunt Eleanor was married to my mother-in-law's brother, Modestino (Uncle Mozzie to those of us who loved him!).
I believe with all my heart that Sal and Mom were there for Aunt Eleanor, there to help her, to welcome her, to make it easier for her so that she wasn't scared or alone during the passing from this life to the next. And it makes me happy. It brings me comfort. Rest in peace, Aunt Eleanor.
On the same topic, but a little off center, I have had a private reading with psychic John Edward. I've worked with him at one of his book signings, been an audience member for his television show Crossing Over, attended a seminar he gave, and stood on line to get his second book signed at a local B&N. Trust me, I'm not a stalker, but I am a believer.
He was right on the money with my reading. My dad, my grandparents, my fiance of 3 months, my cousin, my aunt. Right on the money. Again, I believe. It's reassuring to know that there is something after. Something more. That you aren't just not anymore.
Intellectually, I know that all of this could be simply 'cause that's what I've been taught, what I've lived for 46-1/2 years. But when I think about it, intellectually, trying my best to separate myself from emotion and history and "what I know," I STILL believe. With all my heart.
Another Virginia story: When she was newly married, my mother-in-law's mother-in-law came to stay. DH's grandmother had breast cancer. My MIL cared for her MIL for many years. But Mom was afraid of death, apparently, afraid of dying. When it came to the end for her MIL, my MIL wasn't there, in the room. But my DH's aunt was there. And she swears that the last words out of the mouth of her mother were: "Tell Virginia it's beautiful here. The harps are playing and the angels are singing."