I wonder what it feels like to believe in God.
I know I’ve said before that I’m not religious, but not an atheist, either. My family is not religious, never has been. When my mother first immigrated to the US, she was invited to church by some Christian volunteers, but she didn’t quite like the atmosphere and the fact that the volunteers were so pushy about her immediately becoming a Christian when she had never even thought about being one, so it didn’t work out–and my dad was busy with getting his degree so he never became a part of any church. And then, of course, my brother never had any thoughts about becoming a Christian, or a believer of any religion, and neither did my sister. There used to be a Presbyterian church near our home in Virginia, but I distinctly remember that people used to deal drugs in the church’s parking lot at night, which seemed kind of not…well…anyway…
I used to have a Korean-American friend named Isabella. She had the same last name as me–only pronounced in Korean, of course. She was a pretty devout Christian (I’m not sure which branch of Christianity she belonged to, I was a bit young to really know there was a big difference between any of them) and once, when we were having lunch in the cafeteria, we got to talking about the subject. She said she was a believer; I said I was not (because when I was between the ages of eight and eleven I considered myself an atheist). She got huffy at me then and spent the rest of the lunch period trying to convince me to become a Christian, or I wouldn’t go to heaven when I died. I also think she told me I’d go to hell if I didn’t become a believer? But maybe not, I can’t remember what exactly we said. I just know she said it all in complete seriousness, and for a while, I honestly did wonder if I had to become a devout Christian so I wouldn’t have to suffer in hell.
We didn’t bring up the subject again, though, thankfully.
And now I’m thinking about the whole conversation again because I wonder what it feels like to believe something so strongly. I get depressed often, and it interests me to know that people who “have” a religion are, on the average, happier.
So I want to know how it feels to just…be so sure of God. I want to know how it feels to just be able to trust that He will guide you into doing the right thing. I feel sometimes that I’m losing control of myself, and it makes me panic, because I am terrified of somehow steering myself into the wrong path–and it affects me when people I talk to online can just tell me that they know God will do what is best for me. Tell me that, like they know it. And maybe they do know. Maybe I’m the one who’s lost. Maybe it would be better if I believed in God or in Allah or in Buddha or in any number of those deities. Maybe my life would start making more sense. Maybe I would feel more in control if I only knew how to start praying and believing.
Because I don’t know how. Every time I feel like I should pray–and I feel like doing it often, because I worry about my sisters and my brother and the world in general, and I feel like maybe praying will keep everyone safe–I also feel that I’m being spectacularly fake. I feel like I’m just trying to, I don’t know, USE God or try to fool him into thinking that…that…I don’t know! If I don’t even consider myself an actual believer in Him, do I have the right to pray to Him and ask for His protection, even if I’m asking for the protection of other people? Doesn’t that make me some sort of pale-faced liar? The sort of person who only believes in God when they need help?
There’s a saying for that in China. 临时抱佛脚. It means “hugging the feet of Buddha just for the occasion”–so, basically, only begging for Buddha’s help or mercy when one needs it, and forgetting about him for the rest of the year.
I don’t know if this means I’m a sinner, or something. I just need help. Honestly, I think I need help. I’m kind of sick, or at least, some days–on my bad days–I feel like I am, because I have erratic mood swings and I’ve thought of suicide before (never acted on those thoughts, never succeeded in hurting myself, never told anyone or wanted to tell anyone), but it feels like a sign of weakness to actually see a doctor, because I don’t want to be sick. I don’t want to sit down in some office and have someone give me a test and then tell me that I really am sick and need help–or tell me that I’m not sick, I’m just being stupid and immature and emotional, and it’s all in my head and I’ll feel better once I get a good night’s sleep. I don’t want that, I don’t want either of them. I don’t want to be diagnosed with anything, not Depression, not Anxiety, not even Hormonal Teenager Instability Syndrome.
I just want someone–God, maybe–to tell me that this sadness means something. To give me some answers for the questions I’ve written over and over in my notebooks. Why do horrible things happen, why do horrible things happen, why do they happen. I just want to be able to believe that He will do what is right by everyone and that all the pain, all the suffering, all the sadness, means something. That we don’t just live in a world of those things because happiness needs contrast to exist. I just want to be able to trust implicitly in some higher order or law, something unshakable, something that is 100% Without a Doubt Sure to Be.
I want to be sure that In God We Trust is not something you simply say, but something you really believe.
I just want to know what it feels like to give up resistance, and just let yourself–and God–be. Just, exist. Exist with confidence, exist without fear. Exist with the knowledge that some Universal Law will set things right, in the end.
I would like to know how to say to God, without a sliver of doubt, or a trace of uncertainty:
I trust you. I trust you to do what is right and fair by every suffering victim, every weeping child, every hurting human, every war-torn country in the world. I trust you enough to accept the fate you plan for me. I trust that you will, somehow, let everything turn out to be justified in your Grand Scheme of Things.
I trust you.