This I Believe

Ilsa - whitefish, Montana
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

When I was younger my parents exposed me to all types of religions. They wanted me to get a full view of different “religions.” They also wanted to open my mind, and to inspire me toward spiritual beliefs that could offer me something I could reach for in times of strife or difficulty. I was mainly introduced to Buddhism, Hinduism, some Native American practices, and Catholic beliefs. My parents did this by taking me to Buddhist retreats, prayer and meditation groups, jump dances, sweats, Catholic masses and a few times church. This was done to help me experience the spiritual options that are out there. I wasn’t very appreciative of this exposure when I was younger. I just wanted to be like all of my other friends and go to a local church and bible camps. I now can truly appreciate what my experiences have taught me.

This year in my English class we were supposed to write a piece called “Who am I”. When various students shared their writings, I noticed that about 75% of them said that the main thing that has created them is their religion. I know that they were each addressing one religion that has helped to sculpt who they are. It doesn’t really matter what religion it is. I thought about all the different beliefs that these religions have and that even though the stories maybe somewhat different it gives us all the same things. Religion gives us something larger than ourselves to believe in and strive for. It gives us a community to be a part of and celebrate with. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a church temple. Either way people are coming together and celebrating life. Most of all it gives people morals to live by.

I’m not completely sure what religion and beliefs I practice. I’m not even completely sure if I do practice any certain one. Throughout the years I have developed some beliefs though. I have sort of taken all of the different beliefs that I have been shown and created my own assortment of religion. I think that even though I am not one certain thing or the other religion has left me with the main ideas that it is supposed to portray. It has given me spirituality; it has given me morals, and most of all it has given me something more than myself to live for. All these religions have given me more of an appreciation for music. They all show how you can release energy and hope through song. I think that this is a reason that I do feel so connected to certain music, because it helps me to release my feelings. I believe that religion really is a big part of who people are. I don’t think they really have to completely be sure of what they believe as long as they carry with themselves core of all beliefs.