Saturday, February 23, 2013
When Doubt Meets Faith
Last week for Valentine's Day, I spent the night at my college's Thursday Night Worship in the spiritual center. And for the people who do read my blog on a daily basis, I know you all are wondering why I would be spending my Valentine's Day with a bunch of strangers and in a place I don't even think I truly understand quite yet.
Back in June, I shared my story in this post of how I was dealing with depression since I was 17 years old. The fear I had in unfolding all of the pain and doubt I had within me was immense. I was worried to be pouring out these kinds of emotions, these kinds of emotions that I believed to be selfish at the time. I didn't want people to care for me because I always enjoyed a life of solitude, and this certain kind of solitude was all I thought I needed.
When I went to Thursday Night Worship on Valentine's Day, I didn't mope about the fact that I didn't have a Valentine. While other girls and guys were spending time with their loved ones, I was praying for a better week of comfort and clarity. The beginning of that week started off with an unfortunate kind of feeling that I thought would never return. I didn't go to classes because I didn't want to get out of bed and because these abhorrent feelings towards myself was starting to linger back again. When Valentine's Day came around, I needed some kind of guidance, and I remember what my friend had told me. He told me that God would always be there for me. And let me just clarify that my friend isn't the type of person who shoves or preaches his beliefs down people's throats. I highly respect him, and I was thankful that he was there to listen. I told him about what I have been going through, and he told me that someone was there to listen to me whenever I needed guidance, and that he was above.
Being the quick to judged person that I am (believe me, I'm working on it. I'm only human), I told him that I was never raised religious. My parents are Buddhists, and even though I strangely went to Catholic school when I was seven years old, I knew nothing about God. I never truly followed a religion after I left Catholic school, but I have prayed. I've prayed whenever trouble or pain has stumbled into my life. I've prayed whenever I almost took my own life. I've prayed whenever I needed someone to listen. I just had so much doubt whenever pain continued. Nietzsche said, "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."But what if you're just tired of the constant battle of suffering?
As I went on to attend Thursday Night Worship, I met people who truly welcomed me. It was my first time, and I was afraid that I was going to be extremely uncomfortable trying to figure out if faith was the direction to turn to during a confusing time in my life. And maybe these students and people were just being friendly, and it was the polite thing to do, but I believed it was more of a community that actually cared. Not saying that a community outside of the spiritual center was not welcoming, but in the time that I needed it; I was cheering for more welcome and love that I have been praying for.
When I left TNW, I went on to learn more about the different perspectives of what these students like me thought about life, faith, pain, love through their writing. I was reading the blog they had on their official website. One of the many blog posts that stood out to me was by Jared and how he wrote about how doubt affected him. He said, "Despite how crippling it is, I think in my own life I've seen just how important doubt is; the way I see it, doubt is not weakness, but rather the natural consequence of living a life of worth." Of course, we can't escape from doubt. Everyday, humans doubt everything in their lives, and it only shapes us to understand life through questioning. And these includes the suffering, pain, and agony of unfortunate consequences in our lives.
Symphony also shared her heartbreaking story in this blog post. She had the courage to open up to all of us, and tell us that she was able to find hope after something so traumatizing in her life. She says, "There was power with every time I told the story to a friend, because each time pushed shame out and hope in." I, too felt like there was so much shame upon myself for how I felt about myself. She continues and says, "What I've realized is that in order for healing to begin, I need to speak truth back into my mind and chase the lies out of my heart."
And this connects with Kevin's blog post, where he discusses Ephesians 4:31 - 5:2 (and right now, I really have no idea what exactly I'm talking about now because I haven't read the bible before until recently). He states, "One word that jumps out at me from this passage is “tenderhearted”. Tender according to google.com (yes I cited google…don’t do that in your papers) means showing gentleness, concern or sympathy. When our skin is tender the smallest prick can amount to unbearable pain. Likewise when our heart is tender, the smallest thing will cause us to be greatly affected." And this is when I reflected on the fact that I couldn't handle opening up to anything, and the unbearable pain I felt had affected me so greatly.
When I traveled to Mexico for a school trip, I believed it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life, and a great way to start my new year. I was able to finally clear my mind from my so called "chaotic mess" life. I went on a hike to the Tepoztec pyramids and mountains, where the journey was literally a struggle because of the high altitude and my fear of heights. When I made it to the top, I just wanted to scream in victory that I had finally made it. I felt so many different emotions when I stood on top of the pyramid. It was hard to comprehend what I had gone through that year, and being on top of that pyramid made me feel like I was a new person. I was gazing out at a beautiful view of Tepoztlan, and I was certain that life made a little bit more sense there. In that exact moment.
Again from Jared's post: "So is doubt bad? The answer is not clear cut, but I feel the best way to look at it is to ask yourself the all important question: what is the fruit? Does my doubt fuel me to search out the answers, or does it mire me in self deprecation and depression? The distinction is very very important because doubt is, despite its pain, important. Anything that is worth believing should also be worth doubting; and anyone who has ever done anything worthwhile in life had their doubts about what they were doing. Doubt is proof that whatever you are wrestling over is very important."
Doubt has led me to enter a whole new perspective of my life with faith, and for now, I can say that it has healed me in so many ways. And I wouldn't call myself a Christian in the time being, but I can say that there is so much out there to question and believe. Faith happen to do that to me.