One of the things I have been dealing with over my life is the concept of faith, what it is, and how it works. In the past I have wanted everything defined, marked, columnized, articulated, specific. Who what where when why. As I move away from this left brain existence, I still have no answers, no definitions, and that I have come to the conclusion that that is okay. I feel that just by accepting this small premise is a step forward.
My father died in 2008. As mentioned in this post, he was a very important part of my life. I’ve thought about his life time, how he treated people, how he lived in the world …. and I feel sad for him. He lived in fear – fear of his own abilities. For whatever reason, he shut himself down, I am sure before I was even born, and he allowed no light in. I know he was a very sensitive man, and I wonder what happened. He became the consummate victim, took on that role and never put it aside. Everything happened TO him. My mom has told me a few things, that has helped me to understand why he was so angry, why he was so distant, and to me in particular. Maybe one day I will write a book, who knows. But for now, at this point in the journey, it is enough to understand, and to understand that I do not have to take on his pain, his fear, his mistrust.
My father hated the church, hated religion. He didn’t believe in the idea of Santa Claus. He didn’t believe in fairy tales. … at least outwardly. Inside, secretly, I think he did.
My father did not have faith. And if he ever did, it was reluctantly and because he had no choice. This is what I learned from him. At one point I remember him saying he did not believe in God. I think at the very end of his life he thought differently, but I don’t know as I was not there, and our discussions on anything serious were non-existent. I remember one particularly painful event, I think it was the last time I saw him alive. I had traveled to Calgary from Kelowna specifically to visit, I came to the hospital room with my mom, where he had been living for the past year – and he said, “Oh it’s you, hi.” Then when my sister and her eldest daughter showed up about an hour later, he was all smiles and hugs and quite joyful. About five or ten minutes later, I left my mom and sister and niece in his room to continue the visit, and as I walked back to my mom’s house from the hospital, I realized there was no point on me ever being there again.
As I walked, I pondered the significance of my first family in my own life, never wanting to acknowledge their pushing away, always wanting to be close and realized that would probably never happen. I think it is because our family never really had much in common other than we were in the same family. There was no other esoteric or spiritual significance to our being together, no real commonality between our personalities. No real ties or beliefs or faiths were ever given or imposed, which mind you, I am glad about, because it gave me the freedom to make my own decisions about life, the universe, and everything. But near his death, about a year or so later, my mom said he did come round to having faith – to a point – but certainly, it was because he had no choice.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, my mom always said Let go and let God. I think I am finally learning to do that. Yes it is scary. But I console myself by saying there is really nothing to lose in having this attitude and belief. It does take some effort, but it’s not a big jump, more like a gentle floating on to a breeze that is already in existence …. Butterflies do it ….