This I Believe

Saul - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on February 7, 2008

Growing up as a kid, I used to love everything about going to church. Sunday school, summer school- I even used to make my mom buy me instrumental tapes so I could practice singing songs for the congregation. I only got to nerve to get on stage once though, and I started crying afterwards. My mom said it was because God had “touched me,” but I think it was just stage fright.

I grew up with only my mom raising me, so church became like a second home. I loved the pastor and his family, and loved everyone in the church. It was my life. As I got older though, my view towards my mom’s church became jaded. I guess it really doesn’t matter what church my mom belongs to, but it is a non-denominational Christian sector.

I remember when I was about nine years old, my mom met someone. He moved in with us, and she eventually got pregnant. The church, however, condemned her for it. A single mother meeting a man? Ridiculous! It felt like we were living in the 1800’s. By this point, my mom had become a sort of church leader. She always organized lunches and dinners, she was a Sunday school teacher and always planned fun field trips for the kids. I don’t know exactly what happened after the church pastor found out my mom was engaging in heathen-like activities, but all of a sudden we stopped going to church. Well, actually just the church we had been going to my entire nine year old life. My mom never explained to me why we stopped going to that church. Maybe we really did get kicked out. Maybe my mom made us leave so she could keep her pride. But deep down inside, I knew why.

I think that’s the point in my life where I lost faith in the church. I didn’t understand why we would get kicked out of a church for being something like that. Why didn’t the church embrace us, instead of turning this away?

I appreciate the church very much, and it provides a lot of support for millions of people- but it just isn’t for me. I realize that living life is enough faith for me. When I wake up to a room full of sunshine, and look outside and see a perfect blue sky, I know why I’m here. I see the beauty of life in everything around me. In the trees, in butterflies fluttering by, in the dogs and cats running around, and in the eyes of my friends and family.

I don’t ascribe to a particular religion, but there is one thing I know for sure. I don’t spend my time thinking about my past mistakes, or worrying about the afterlife. I spend my time enjoying life, and realizing that every day is a unique and special gift.