I can recall sitting in my pine-scented living room amongst ripped paper and empty boxes, looking to my mother and father, who provided me with all life’s answers at the time, asking the question which I had asked on numerous occasions: “Is Santa real?” My suspicion of the unknown dates as a far back as I can remember. Santa Claus was merely a piece in the puzzle of all things I have doubted, and my journey of questioning everything not supplemented with hard facts would continuously unfold throughout my adolescence.
I grew up in a Presbyterian family who attended church weekly. Before Sunday school, I would eat sticky glazed donuts in the fellowship hall, wondering whether the prestigious adults around me believed in God. I would sabotage my attempt at accepting the indefinite as cynical thoughts encompassed my mind, frightened by what I presumed would be my eternal fate. Why couldn’t I accept, like seemingly all other children my age had—that religion wasn’t some fairy-tale, comparable to what I had observed in my beloved collection of Disney movies?
One thick-aired August afternoon, while sitting outside with my Grandbobby, I inquired about his own faith. He was dying of pancreatic cancer, and for a man who would soon be entering the play of life’s final act, his answer seemed surprisingly firm and unyielding: “I believe it all whether I believe it or not.” More to add to my schmorgusboard of insight; but was the answer sufficient enough to apply to such a pivotal dimension of one’s well being and world?
During college, my quest to “find” my faith was distracted by academic and social commitments. However, one snowy December, I returned home to find my family’s church going routine still intact. I sat by my Dad during that service, and just as I had as a child, looked to him for answers. “Dad, do you believe all this? You know, God?” His response provided me with a revelation: “You know, sometimes it just feels good to sit there—just sit in church.” This intelligent man had made sense of religion as best he could. He was content, despite his own lack of answers.
On a spring day during my junior year, I proceeded to pull out of a parking space, unaware that my life would be infinitely altered. A car sped through as I reversed. Pounding the breaks as quickly as I could, I desperately called, “Oh my God! Please help me!” My cry was powerful and transcending; the moment my life flashed before me, I knew who to call upon. I pulled back in the space and instantaneously wept, relieved that I was unscathed, but more relieved that I had found what I had been looking for the past 21 years. Subconsciously, while not searching for an answer, I had found my faith. Perhaps I would never be able to define it through hard facts, but I knew it was inside. I believe in finding an answer in an answerless world.
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