I don't have a religion. I'm not sure if I ever will. But I do, without question, believe in God.
I don't have a religion because, in all honesty, religion scares me. Historically speaking, whenever anyone wanted to control another group of people, they used gods and rules and regulations, they used the fear of damnation for eternity. I say "used" as if it still isn't an occurrence now, but the point is, in history and in modern times, religion is used not only to control but to divide.
I don't pray every day. I don't go to church. I have no idea where my bible is. But I do talk to and have faith in God. I talk to God as I would talk to a mentor, I tell him what I think and what I feel, and wait patiently for an answer, realizing that sometimes no answer is an answer in itself. I don't hear God's voice or believe that He illuminates items or situations in my life as "signs" or "tests," rather I feel what it is He's trying to say and go with that.
There are times I'm sure he's laughing at me, not in a mocking way but in an "Oh, Tes," sort of way. There are some times where I know He's disappointed in me, but not more than the times where I know I make Him proud. The care with which I try to treat people, the advice I give them to follow what their heart says, those are all things I learned from Him.
Where did I learn it? Simply with waking and walking, seeing kindness and beauty in people has taught me what and who God is. Seeing hatefulness and mistreatment of others has taught me what God is not. God is about love and love, the true and life changing kind, isn't hateful or segregated. When you love, you love with an open and free heart. When you love, you share it with everyone, and don't seek to change them but rather to be there for them regardless of if they feel that love or not. That, to me, is what God is.
This whole blog post was actually inspired by a song that reminds me of God every time I hear it. There's this Texas band called Flyleaf that I adore and their break out song was called "All Around Me." Everyone in my music class at the time thought it was a love song, but when I heard it, I immediately thought it was a rock/gospel song. Turns out all of us were right; upon inspection the lead singer said that the song was a love song to God, about what it would be like to meet Him. The way she sings of meeting God is full of tummy butterflies and the exhilarating feel of finally falling for someone you know is going to catch you. One line, the line that makes my skin break into goosebumps says "Take my hand, I give it to you/Now you own me, all I am/ You said you would never leave me/I believe you, I believe," is what convinces me that I'm not the only one who thinks of God as love. That abandon, that full trust and faith in someone you love, isn't that what God asks of us? Isn't that what God tries to show us, if we would only see it, at so many points in our lives?
I can't tell you why I believe, because I truly don't know. With some of the things that have happened to me, some of the things I still rarely talk about, it would be so easy for me not to, to turn my back but I simply can't. There are some people so eaten up inside with anger and hatred for people and things and places they've never known, seen or been to and I don't hate them but rather feel pity for them and fear their ignorance. I suppose I believe because I believe in love, and if there's one thing I learned from all the holy texts it's that God is love. Anything a person does through true, genuine love, sets them one step closer to God, whatever or wherever that may be.
You don't have to believe. I'm not on this Earth to make you believe. What I'm here to do, is love and learn. I don't know what for. I don't know if there's life after this. But what I do know is that if I live my life in a loving way and let the love govern who I am and will become? A fruitful, full life I'll have lived and beyond any heaven, any promises of "after" knowing that for myself, before I die will be more precious than any other gift a person could receive, in this world or the next.