In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?
What am I talking about now? Religion and our inner most faith is what I have been questioned about today. Should it matter to anyone else what my beliefs are, do I have to share it with anyone else? I don’t think so, but there again I’m not your average person and don’t want to be either.
Today I have been asked what my religion is? And it shook me a little bit because I don’t feel I have a religion and I felt a little uncomfortable answering. But why should I feel that way? I have a faith and a belief that are mine and should be nobody else’s concern.
Yes, as a child of about 3 years old there is one photograph of me with my godparents, Aunt Pat, dad’s sister and Aunt June and Uncle Brian, mum’s closest friends, not our real aunt and uncle, on my shared christening day. There we are all stood proudly outside in the front garden. When I say shared, it was because my little sister Tracy was also christened on the same day at a few months old.
For a long time I used to deny even being christened because all I remember as a really young child was religion causing arguments. Dad didn’t believe in anything, had no faith what so ever and mum was so frightened not to believe that she insisted that we had to be christened. So you can just imagine the rows we used to hear. Eventually dad buckled to the pressure and let mum have her way. The day meant so much to me I have no memories what so ever of any of it, so if I didn’t have the photograph I wouldn’t be able to recall anything. I must dig that old photo out now I am talking about it.
Dad’s none belief was so strong that every Sunday evening the minute Songs of Praise came on the television, up dad would get and off went the tv. Not forgetting in those days there were only one or two channels for us to choose from and the option we had was you either watched what was on, or, you turned it off. As a kid though it was close to bed time so didn’t really affect me. This all coincided with bath, clean pyjamas on, nit comb and fingers and toe nails trimmed. The Sunday night ritual I will never forget.
Once we moved to Canada, after dad died, Sunday school was a habit us 2 girls were somehow lead in to. Each week being collected and dropped off again afterwards, by the strangest lady from the church you would ever meet, and all so mum could have a lay in. I remember the church well, it was on the end of Silver Street, near the beer store but can’t remember the name of it for the life of me. I don’t remember that lasting long though and it didn’t really make such a great impression on me if I can’t remember the name of it.
I do remember the United reformed church in Richmond that we used to have to go to with the Scott family if ever we were lucky enough to be allowed to stay over night on the farm, but it is the memories of us all piling in the station wagon to drive down the road in that I really remember. Two adults and 6 of their children plus me all squashed in and laughing about who could sit where. Sherry and I used to love being able to sit in the rear facing seats right at the very back and upsetting Bob and Bruce because they liked it too.
Can I say religion has paid a big part in my life, no I guess it hasn’t. I can’t say my chosen God parents had any religious influence over me, they certainly never made sure I attended a church. My 2 god mothers are still alive but as life has taken its many twists and turns we don’t see each other any more.
When my daughter was born they only gave her 48 hours to live and I will never forget the nurse’s face when she told me I must have her christened and to contact whoever I wanted to do the ceremony. I flatly refused as I suppose this was the dad in me coming out as I told her boldly that at that moment in time my faith was in the doctors and nurses as well as Becky herself. If it was meant to be that she lived then it would happen. Having anyone come in to say a few words over the incubator and ventilator wouldn’t make the slightest difference to me. And I’m happy to report that 33 years later she is still here, alive and kicking, and still not christened.
Has been of a religious faith made any difference to her life, no I don’t think so, and she’s a big girl now and can choose to follow whatever faith or religion she wishes.
Does it really matter if people have a religious faith, yes it does, if that is what they choose to have. I believe we are all individuals doing our best to live the life we have been given and if we feel we need a belief system, then have one.
But please, be mindful of your beliefs influencing how you treat others. My reply and the look on the person’s face today tells me they won’t be rushing to have a chat with me again.