I was a born-again since kindergarten, attended only Christian schools, and denounced myself from religion at age 13. The heartless condemnation and blind ignorance of so many authority figures (including teachers and pastors) and the disturbing concept that God could let anyone burn in eternal flames..wondering how I could rely on or love a God like that, is what turned me off of religion altogether. I remember asking as a child, "What about the kids in remote parts of Africa who haven't heard about God?" "Well if they wanted to, they could find out about God. Otherwise they are lost to hell too. That's why we need missionaries." That answer always stuck with me. How could I feel anything but disgust and rebellion? I didn't want to see God again for almost ten years.
The man I loved since I was 16, who taught me so much about humanity and endless forgiveness and unconditional love, passed away early this year. In losing him, I became desperate for answers about life after death. I had to know how I would find him again, if I could. I sought out mediums and witchcraft, ideas of reincarnation and a pagan god and goddess who sounded more approachable. None of it felt real. I remember him crying telling me, "I know that God must know what's in my heart and what goes on in my head. No one can understand.. He must see how it is inside me and take pity on me?" I always told him I didn't believe in God, and that would upset him. He suffered with bipolar disorder and various addictions, did a lot of bad things and broke my heart several times. I was the stable one, yet it is really he that saved me. I was strong and stable, and stubborn and stern and I believed in punishing him for his actions and walking away even when he needed me, in order to preserve my own feelings or just to get revenge or "teach him a lesson". When he hurt me, I wanted to hurt him back; when I hurt him, he held onto me and forgave me and loved me. He couldn't escape his demons and I wasn't strong enough back then to fight with forgiveness and love. How I would give anything to go back in time.. But it never mattered to him: I was his and he loved me and I was perfect in my imperfections and nothing I could do or say could ever change how he felt about me. He wrote that to me so many times.. I held one of the letters and sat and cried and I thought, If there is a God, how can his love and his commitment and mercy be any less than that? This was only last week, and that night I laid in bed looking out at the stars and wished to see God- I barely had the thought finished before stars started to shoot across the sky. I felt love wash over me.
I began to search, in the bible and online. This idea of universalism is new to me- but it has saved my faith, and the more I discover and meditate and pray, the more I am filled with love and respect for this God who I am really seeing for the first time.
I remember reading a quote after his death, "Just when someone seems to deserve our love the least, that's when they need it the most." If anything on this earth is divine or worth searching for and believing in, it is that: endless forgiveness and unconditional love.
Goodnight all :)