Nissa Said,

January 8, 2010 @ 2:41 am

I too have battled with faith, after losing important people. Yet, the more I learned about (Christian) God, the less I believed in him, or at least, the popular belief of what he is. The older I get, more I see and experience, the further I move from believing in any sort of God or deity. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. I do believe in science – in the idea that this is all the circle of life. We started as carbon and end as carbon, recycled in to the earth to be reborn as trees, plants, etc.

Where some find comfort in religion and heaven, I find comfort in the fact that we are all part of this ecosystem, that we contribute to the circle of life, and that while were here, life is precious and should be lived to its fullest. We should be kind, generous and make the earth a great place for all who are here. Each person’s life is a lesson to those who exist after. This is the cycle, and it continues.

I do hope that you find some clarity in this time, whether it’s through your old faith or a new one. I think it’s wonderful that you explore other people’s thoughts and feelings to better understand your own.

That's a comment, left by me, in reply to Her Bad Mother's blog post We, Who Need Such Great Mysteries. Please click on that link to read the post if you have time, because it is a fantastic piece that left me thinking for quite awhile. Catherine recently lost her Father tragically, without notice. Her writings since have been devastatingly heart-wrenching. In this piece, Catherine writes of being unable to accept neither that death is the end, nor that death is a return and a reunion with those you love for eternal life. She's searching for the answer, and speaks truthfully about her desperate desire to find faith, to trust it, to know that this, here, is not the end - or not to.

She doesn't know it, but her post couldn't have come at a more opportune time. A year ago today, a friend of mine committed a murder/suicide. Aside from the fact that he and his wife are dead, little else is known of the circumstances in which me made that particular choice. Unfortunately, the things that are known make the grief more complicated. My friend and his wife were in the middle of a separation headed toward divorce. My friend was visiting a psychiatrist to get a handle on his depression and was taking a popular anti-depressant. Aside from our friendship, I also have a cosmic connection with my friend and his wife, as I officiated their small backyard wedding two years ago.

In this year since, I have struggled to find peace. In hoping to cleanse my soul, I explored many faiths, some for the first time, others for the second or beyond. I have always envied the peace that religion gives to some people around me.

I have furiously held on to pain and anger - tremendous anger - over my friend's choices that somewhere in myself I think I felt I needed to share within when I saw him again. I held on to the sorrow, the pain of not being able to know, not being able to help him and her. I was nauseous with regret for enabling their marriage, which at the time seemed so joyous, so true. Still, there was nothing in faith that gave me peace. Though I have tried, numerous times in my life, to give my sorrow and my pain to God, to free myself in his plan, I just...cannot. I have begged to believe. Begged myself. Why do I hold on to this pain, this anger, this frustration, this sadness - if this is the end? Of what use is this strife?

These things ultimately have led me back here. Here is now, because that's what I understand. When I typed that comment to Her Bad Mother, I realized that something in me has changed. I really, truly believe that which I wrote. If I close my eyes and visualize death followed by nothing - by peace - I am flooded with relief. I'll be honest - at first, it shocks me - but if I let it continue, I see the circle of life, our Earth, and the life around us recycling.

That fighting thought that this can't be the end - we're too smart, too wonderful, too connected - it illuminates the true beauty of human life. But for me, it's not because after death, we're all reunited in heaven. We, to those who come after us, are a lesson. Our actions on this earth change everything. Our hands create brilliance (if we let them) and our love moves mountains. Those things cannot be erased once our lives end. Think about it - you are who you are because of other humans - your family, your friends, people you don't know but run in to, the doctor who fixes you, the guy at the grocery store. And it builds as children are born, raised, and passed into the world. Our journey is less selfish than it seems. We are all but a part of a cycle that will continue far beyond our death.

My friend's actions are accountable only to him. I did what was humanely possible. I gave him what I had to give. I cannot change that I didn't know he would commit this horrible act. I also cannot change that he is gone, for his family, his friends, or myself.

I am accountable for my life. There are no excuses. How do I want to be remembered? What will I give my children, and those who come after me? How will I participate in this cycle? These questions sound contrived, but they are so relevant. With this freedom to believe that the end is the end, I'm left beginning to understand that I need to be more selfless in my life journey. This doesn't mean I shouldn't take care of myself, or be successful for myself, but instead it means that I cannot dwell inside fear, anger, pain, or grief. I need to use the resources around me to contribute, however that contribution formulates. To forgive. To allow myself to understand that with time I WILL age, I WILL change, and eventually, I WILL lose those who are important around me. At the end, I will die, and the energy of my life, my successes, my failures, my lessons will circulate those around me. My body will decompose and give life to something new.

With that, I feel great peace.

3 people's thoughts:

David January 11, 2010 at 10:37 AM  

I admire your tremendous faith in the cycle. Some day I hope to reach that peace as well. In the mean time continue on in what you believe and your peace is assured.

Her Bad Mother January 11, 2010 at 1:31 PM  

This was beautiful and heart-wrenching and BEAUTIFUL.

Thank you.

C January 11, 2010 at 7:20 PM  

This sort of death is so much harder to grieve than those who go without choice. It's been a year and I still don't really know what to feel about the whole situation besides completely confused.

I am, however, glad that you are able to find some peace with the circle of life. I have been struggling with it my entire life, and am no closer to an answer that makes any sense.

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