Growing up as a teenager I was hardcore Christian. I still remember friends of mine calling me Bible Thumper! I had two groups of friends…the non-Christians and the Christians. Some days I went to bible study or youth group and other times I went to the youth center or hung out in town with my non religious friends. It worked for me. I didn’t swear, I didn’t have sex, I didn’t do drugs, I don’t even think I drank and if I did it was very little. I didn’t party but I did go to parties to hang out with friends. I didn’t agree with homosexuality, I believed sex was to be saved for marriage, I thought abortion was wrong in all circumstances, and I was pretty close minded to what others had to say if it didn’t have to do with God. I didn’t try very hard to understand people or why they lived the way they lived and did what they did and said what they said. But I did appreciate every person in my life and I tried to respect them the best I knew how.
When I hit the legal drinking age it took awhile but I eventually caved. One summer I just started living the best of both lives. I called myself a Christian, I still did not do drugs or have sex but I did try weed and I did date guys who weren’t Christians and basically it never worked out because there was one thing I could not give them that they were desperate to have lol. But for that summer I went stir crazy and started going to bars, getting drunk, doing really stupid things that to this day I just shake my head at. I have a lot of stories from that summer, some good and some totally nuts, but that’s not the point.
Summer eventually came to an end and people started going back to school and the everyday partying stopped. I started to question my behavior and where I stood because I knew I could not live in both worlds.
One day my sister called me and asked if she could come live with me for a few weeks because her and her boyfriend had split up. I was more than willing to let her come stay with me. I was still, however, part Christian (if that’s even a thing!). After a few weeks I started to get impatient with her because she had sort of made up with her boyfriend and so they were still seeing each other but not living together. I was convinced that through life and through dreams I was having that God didn’t want me to keep her there. Amd after about 2 months of her staying with me I kicked her out, just like that. She told me that she’d never talk to me ever again if I did it and I still just sent her on her way, without a care. And needless to say we lost touch with each other for awhile.
After that incident I felt alone. My friends were all doing their thing and I was working and living alone and just confused as hell about what I wanted out of life. I remember at one point I looked into rehab centers in Montreal because I was going to fake being a drug addict or alcoholic so that I could just disappear where no one would know where I was. I sent a letter to an old friend in Toronto as well asking if I could stay with her and her family because I was going through a rough patch. I just wanted to disappear!
My parents called me one day to say they were moving to PEI in the Spring. I had looked at other places in Canada to live but now I had a free ride to PEI, so I started calling around and seeing what jobs were here and trying to meet people online from PEI so I would have friends set up when I got here. I wanted a fresh start.
So Spring time came and I packed my bags and I moved to PEI. I spent the Spring/Summer off work and just living in the country and trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted.
I will never forget when I found my answer. I was having a conversation on MSN with a friend of mine about religion and God and everything…and during our conversation I guess it hit me that the only thing that mattered in the end was Love. How I loved others, how they loved me. Everything boiled down to love…love myself, love my friends, love my family, and be sure to be lovable.
I may have walked away from religion but I never walked away from God. I still believe in God and I still pray and I still listen to Christian music because it lifts my spirits up high when I am feeling low. But I have a hard time believing in the bible and I have a hard time with Churches. I still have Christian and non Christian friends but I have a MUCH more open minded life. I try and understand people and circumstances no matter who they are or what they are.
I just have a hard time being a part of a religion where I fully believe that my God is the only God and the only way to an eternal life. I have a hard time seeing him as a Father when I am told that anyone who doesn’t follow him will go to Hell. I am a mother, a parent, and I would never send them to the place we know as hell. I would rather send myself there. So the fact that God, the Father, sent his son to die a horrible gruesome death for the good of mankind, and the fact that he’d send his own children to hell…I refuse to believe that. But because I don’t stand for anything but Love, I don’t have the answers and I won’t argue with anyone who thinks they do.
There are so many religions across the world and each one believes that their God is the one and only. There are religions that believe that blowing themselves up is a act of worship to their God. Their are so many religions, so many different beliefs, and I think that’s an art in itself. It’s colorful and it gives choice and it gives identity to Countries and people who live there. But I don’t think for one second that any one of us can say there is only one God, one way, one truth.
Since I have been living this way, away from Church and religion, only living for what’s right and loving people & myself, I feel happy. I feel like even though I am not married and I have sex, even though I have smoked weed, even though sometimes I drink that one extra glass of wine and get drunk…I am proud to be here and I love my life and I love my friends and my family. Things seem clearer to me. I try not to judge and my perspectives have changed. I think homosexuals should have the same rights we all do, they aren’t hurting anyone. I think under certain circumstances I can understand why some women would choose abortion. I believe in standing up for what you believe in, what I believe in. But everything, for me, boils down to Love. It’s not about who or what you believe is out there. It’s about how you live your life while your here. Its an amazing gift that we have all been given, life. So love it the best you can.
That’s why I walked away from religion. But like I said, I didn’t walk away from God. I don’t know what’s going to happen after this life is over for me. I don’t know if heaven is real and if it is then I don’t know if I’ll be sent there or not. I don’t have those answers but I sure as hell hope I am living my life the best I can.