It was a great debate. I argued for the existence of a Supreme Being. I was lying through my teeth. It was always hard growing up and not believing in God. I tried to search for a religion that would fit me. I did some religion shopping, but I could never bring myself to make the final purchase. Sometimes it would not fit or just was not the right color. Other times I asked if it was really worth the money for the number of times I would wear it. I went to a tailor, picked the style and fabric, but something about it just was not me. I finally decided that I would have to make it myself. I could not wear someone else’s clothes and call them my own.
When I finally figured it out, I was so relieved. I could just be myself. But as time passed, it became harder. What style and fabric would it be? Like all good fashion there was no template to rely on. It would have to be all me, but who was I? I started to make it. I put the scissors to the fabric and started to cut. I had sewn all the seams and now it was finished, but when I put it on it would not fit. It seems that I had failed to measure and add in a seam allowance so that I had some flexibility. I measured myself and drafted a new pattern. It was finally done. It was not perfect, but I loved it. It did not fit in places and it made me look fat, but I wore it all the time. It was something that was my very own. I wore it so much that it became tattered and frayed. I had to make a new suit unless I wanted to run around naked. I went back to the fabric store, but they had discontinued the fabric that I had bought before. Fashion had also changed. I made a new suit with a different style and with different fabric, but it still felt like my own.
Religion is a good suit. You cannot expect someone to just make it for you. There is no such thing as “one size fits all.” You have to make it for yourself. You have to measure yourself and find out what you believe before you start sewing. The fabric is our soul and the style is our mind: both will change throughout our lives. Our soul is the foundation and our mind shapes what we believe. Religion is what we believe even if it is not in a certain deity. Religion is our morality and outlook on life. My religion may not be bought at Macy’s or designed by Armani, but it has worth and value.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.