Spirituality is defined as a transcendent dimension within the human experience…discovered in moments in which the individual questions the meaning of personal existence and attempts to place the self within a broader contest of life.
If there’s ever a time that an individual questions the meaning of existence and tries to figure out where they fit in the big picture of life, it will be in a time of big change. The birth of a child is a defining moment in our spirituality. A baby changes EVERYTHING. They change our lives in every way…they change our priorities, the way we use our time and money, they change our relationships with the people around us, and they change our relationship with God. The birth of a child changes everything…and the death of a child changes so much more. The birth of a child fits in with the (mostly) predictable order of life as we know it. We expect some big changes, we prepare for them, and we look forward to them. The death of a child turns all of that upside down plops you all at once onto a momentous spiritual cross-road. What do I believe? Why do I even believe that? Can I still believe that? Will I walk forward with the faith that I’ve grown up with or can I not bear to move forward?
Some are going to be firm enough in their faith, that even this earthquake doesn’t shake them, some will need to stop and steady themselves for a while before moving on, and some will decide that they can’t trust the route they were on (whether that route was with or without God) and need to take a different road. I feel like I was probably one of those that needed to steady themselves before moving on.
I felt betrayed, but at the same time God was the only one that could make this hurt better. I was like the angry child that is mad at mom but needs to throw their fit safely in their mother’s arms. I was hurt, I was mad, and I was broken, but there was nowhere else to go for comfort. The ONLY beacon of hope that I could find was that life didn’t really end with death. If this life here was all there was, then there wasn’t much worth living for. If there was something more beyond the grave then there was hope of being together again in a happier place. So I walked toward the only light I could find.
Since then, my faith has grown tremendously, though in baby steps. I’ve gotten much closer to the place where God is really the center, and everything else revolves around that. If I don’t put that priority first, then I just might miss the whole purpose of my existence and the hope of what’s beyond. Losing Lach has been the launching pad for taking my faith seriously and not as just another thing to check off on my to-do list. I can’t help but wonder if this new growth and the deeper roots will move me into the category of being unshaken in my faith when I come to the next crisis. I don’t know. Time will tell. I’m glad I chose to continue down the road of faith. I think it helps me remember what’s really important. It helps me to love people better. It helps me to be more open-minded and open-hearted. It gives me peace and hope. I can love my life here and still look forward with all my heart to what is to come next.
The only real tip that I can come up with for those standing in that cross-road is to pray. Whether you believe in God or not, just pray. Even if you can’t pray with much heart. Even if you feel like you’re only talking to yourself. Even if you don’t “feel” any response to the prayer. Keep doing it. Pray without ceasing and eventually you will find the truth you need to continue on.