Written by Kathleen DePaola
Growing up Catholic, I went the whole nine yards but never asked why. I was Christened, wore my pretty white dress for Holy Communion and finished it off with Confirmation and even went to Catholic school. God was barely mentioned at home, we rarely went to Church, these Catholic rituals were more of an excuse for a party. My daughter used to say that we were “once a year Christians.” I know my mom believed in God and would occasionally go to Church, on her own time, quickly say a prayer, light a candle and leave.
“I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are the sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.” – Kahlil Gibran
I was told my grandmother was a good Catholic, went to Church on Sunday’s, wore the cross around her neck, was never without her rosary beads and had pictures of Jesus hanging in her room. By definition of the word, and my grandmother, I was not a good Christian and as I got older the less I believed. I had a hard time processing the image of a God that was drilled into my head while attending a Catholic School. Our surroundings were inundated with the certainty that God was a man, sitting on a throne, almighty sceptre in one hand, the other pointing at those, that he determined was acceptable to enter while judging those inadmissible.
“No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” – Dalai Lama
Since I could not relate to any faith with conviction I convinced myself I must be an Atheist or, at the very least, an Agnostic. However, I do believe there is a greater force. I believe we are our souls, not limited to this life. There is both a plan and a reason. We all have our path, even though at times this path we are on seems merciless, and just when you’re ready to jump you realize this path is here to teach you, strengthen you and believe everything will be alright. This is your journey.
The problem is holding onto this belief when you start to question your meaning, your place in this life, you are removed from your surroundings. I search for a reason why I resist the change that is ahead of me.
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour
I reconnect to the universe, knowing this world is temporary. My peace comes from within, this is where the light lives. When I wake each morning, I try and sit still for at least twenty minutes. This is my meditation. I have never been able to quiet my mind, but it quiets my soul. I think about my heartache, this is what makes me stronger. I have learned so much from people that have come into my life because of this, no matter if it’s just for a moment or from those that have stayed. I see everything that has been given to me, and for that I am grateful.
“Religion is for people that are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those that have already been there.” – Vine Deloria, Sioux
The Spirit touches us every day; “close your eyes in order to see.” Live for this moment only. I would have missed the most breathtaking sunset that I have ever seen if I hadn’t listened to my inner voice. I was sure that no one has ever seen these colors; the most talented artist could not have mixed this palette of colors. I never felt so connected to the Spirit as I did this day, I was sure this was designed exclusively for me. This was a ‘first’ for me.
My peace comes from within, this is where the light lives.
Remember all the ‘firsts’ in this lifetime for these will carry over to the next. Respect the beauty that this universe has provided for us. Respect the Spirit for the people that have been brought into this life; respect all life, for we are all connected.
Be kind. Forgive. And remember, everything will be alright.
I am curious as to where our paths have taken us from the time our parents passed on their beliefs to us, as did theirs. Do we still follow these religions, or are we just following tradition? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Author: Kathleen DePaola
Kathleen lives and works in New Jersey, USA and is involved in helping to spread awareness and aid in fundraising efforts for suicide prevention. You can find her on Linkedin.