This I Believe

Taylor - Chattanooga, Tennessee
Entered on April 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that religious faith is fleeting. As a young child, I had no doubt that there was a big man in the sky watching over me. One night while at a basketball game at age twelve, I got pulled from the stands by my mom. Our family Labrador Retriever had been sick for a while and finally had to be hospitalized. It turned out that he had parvovirus, which is a deadly disease that very few dogs overcome. At hearing this news, my mother expected me to burst into inconsolable sobs.

Ben, our black Lab, and I were very close. He was a great friend and protector to me. Instead of becoming distressed, I calmly hugged my mom and began to console her. I told her, “Everything will be okay, I promise.” I looked up into her face and explained to her that God had told me that Ben would survive. My mom was doubtful. She held me close and said, “Don’t get your hopes too high,” but nothing could put a damper on my religious zeal.

After this particular incident, I never again felt so strongly the force of a higher power guiding my life. I remember the immense peace that spread throughout my body during the months that Ben was sick, but I have never been able to get back to that place of security that I found in God. After a long and hard struggle with the devastating disease, Ben lived. My family was astonished that he had beaten the almost impossible odds.

This incident should have strengthened my faith in God, right? Wrong. Ben survived, but somehow my faith did not. At one point in my adolescent life, I believed in nothing as fully as I believed in God’s almighty presence, but gradually this assurance faded. The present absence of religious faith in my life is the reason I believe that faith is fleeting. Some people never outgrow their faith as I did, but that does not make it any less of a figment of the imagination. The great religious experience I felt as a pre-teen was nothing more than a defensive mechanism created by my brain, in order to ease the pain and worry of dealing with Ben’s disease. There was no way that I could help Ben medically, so I reached a state of mind that granted me peace. His survival was not a result of my prayer, but a product of modern science.

I wish that I could still cling to faith in God. Sometimes I think that it would make my life easier to be able to rely on someone or something other than myself to solve my problems and lend me comfort during life’s many adversities. But the only true being that I have faith in is myself. I have to believe in myself and my own personal strength which I believe will carry me through any storms I may face.