This I Believe

Julie - Stockton, California
Entered on January 31, 2008

The More I Know, The Less I Know

For many years, I searched for a spiritual home. Not raised with any organized religion, I experimented with different versions of Christian faiths but wasn’t quite sure where I fit best.

Five years ago, I decided to quit my job and relocate to be closer to my family. As I got settled in my new home, I again took up my spiritual search and arrived at the Unitarian Universalist church. My greatest challenge was embracing the fact that this church, unlike others, encouraged me to find my own answers instead of providing them to me through its doctrine.

While this isn’t an easy faith, it is the one which is most resonant in my heart. I’ve learned so much and explored new paths through interaction with those who share this faith but sometimes have divergent beliefs from me. Each time I’m exposed to different viewpoints, it forces me to reevaluate my own perspectives.

Two and a half years ago, my 85-year old grandfather was suddenly stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome and was paralyzed from the neck down for almost a year. During his recovery process there have been many ups and downs, and fortunately, he is still alive at 88.

This experience put my belief system to the test. When he first became ill, I spent countless hours researching this rare illness trying to understand and find answers. I shared this information with other family members in the hopes that it would somehow help “cure” him. I also became closer to my family as I was faced with the potential loss of someone who was such an integral part of my life.

But the reality was that I had no control over the course of his illness or his recovery. He is now in his second round of hospice, a service designed to make the last months of a terminally ill person’s life more comfortable. Yet, he’s more vibrant, coherent, and alive, than ever.

I believe that even the best doctors can make mistakes. That people will fight for their lives as long as they feel they have something worth fighting for. I believe in the power of love to heal and to help us cope with loss. I believe that there are more aspects of life than I’d care to admit that I might never fully understand. But that knowledge empowers me to accept and tolerate differences, and to continue to explore new places, relationships and ideas in the one life I’m living here on Earth.