Monday, December 24, 2012
I was recently asked how Dave's death affected my spirituality and this was my response. I thought I'd share it here.
I was an agnostic at best before Dave died. Very scientific, raised by an atheist physicist who abhorred organized religion, I was skeptical (sometimes I think skepticism can be judged as a negative trait, but I think it can be healthy) and approached all of life with a “lemme see the evidence” attitude.
I was much more open than my dad was, though, and appreciated all the different religions and how comforting they seemed to be for others, but they’d never appealed to me personally, at all.
Losing my mom to cancer by the time I was 5 and watching my dad drink himself to death by the time I was 28, I had difficulty understanding why life was so hard. I had a VERY hard time with statements like “they’re with God now!” and “God only gives you what you can handle!” and so on.
I didn’t know what I believed in and I didn’t know what happened to us after we died, other than becoming a part of the earth again (unless we’re preserved and buried in a giant concrete box, of course).
After Dave died, I was cracked open. My skepticism was softened by my grief and my need to be comforted. I was open to a lot more, not organized religion or a belief in a God, but a desperate hope that I’d see Dave again (even if it meant as a spirit).
I believe that energy isn’t destroyed and our bodies (including our souls/minds) are energy so I don’t think Dave is just GONE now although it sure seems like it via my senses and awareness.
I believe his energy is now a part of everything else.
I don’t necessarily believe he sends me signs or visits me. I have no idea if he does or not. I can see certain things that are perfectly normal and explainable and say “that’s Dave sending me a message” and if that helps me, great, but I don’t always fully believe it’s true.
If I witnessed something truly inexplicable I’d be open to believing, but I haven’t yet. I’m not afraid of it, either, though. I’d like to see a medium one day, just to see what happens, but to be honest, I’d still be skeptical, simply because not everything is as it seems and often times, people are unscrupulous, taking advantage of people who are desperate to hear from their dead loved ones.
I’m completely open to hearing about others’ beliefs about the afterlife. My belief is that I don’t know ANYTHING about what happens to us after we die. I can guess. I can hope, but I’m not convinced of anything, either way.
I can see how it’s the only comfort one can sometimes find to say to oneself “I’ll see them again one day” or “They’ve gone home to God” or even “It was their time to go”, but they don’t comfort me as they seem to comfort others. I deeply wish they did.
Buddhism, on the other hand, and its focus on the impermanence of life helps me the most. Its focus on understanding more than blind faith really fits into my world view and personality.
According to Buddhism, the first noble truth is that life is suffering. It’s unavoidable and normal. This helps me because it allows me to look at the truth and see it for what it is, versus trying to put a pretty, romantic, angel spin on it, which just doesn’t work for me.
Actually, as the doctors were trying to keep my husband alive (with no luck) I asked my religious friend to pray and I prayed right along with her with a fervor I’d never had before, though I wasn't quite sure who I was praying TOO. I suppose I was simply praying to Dave himself. I believed in him and I had seen over the years how much he loved me. I prayed for our love. If I could’ve prayed a miracle into existence I would have. I was open to believing anything might happen, but a part of me somehow knew I'd lose him as much as I pleaded and prayed I wouldn't.
I might not have religious or even spiritual convictions, but what I do have I have a ton of. I have hope.
Hope is in the people who turn up when you least expect it and lighten your load when you’re suffering. Who extend a hand to you when you’re drowning. Hope is in the little coincidences that bring you the people and experiences you need to move through the pain. Hope is in the strength that tragedy reveals in us and the unique lessons it provides. Hope is there, it’s just sometimes hard to find, which makes it all the more important to REALLY take note of if it and grasp onto it when it makes itself known.
Maybe hope is my religion. I'm a hopeaholic. Wait, no that sounds wrong. A hopeist. There we go. I'm a hopeist.