Religion has never been my thing but I’ve always been fascinated it and respected other people’s beliefs. I often think of the things we inherit through blood, energy, and spirit. I was dragged to church as a kid. Often by my maternal grandmother or mother. Occasionally by my father. He’s always been a skeptic who proudly says, “I believe in science.” Predominately raised by his devout grandmother, he attended church, read the the Bible, and sang along with the choir. She was a spirited woman who played pranks on family members well into her eighties. Everyone loved her. When she lost her battle with cancer, the last piece of him that ‘believed’ died.
My maternal side is also known to be quite the religious bunch. My grandmother converted from being a Seventh Day Adventist to a Baptist which seems to be the result of an overly-strict upbringing. My grandfather was raised by an ultra religious woman but trust me, he’s always been easy-breezy about religion (that is until the occasional tragic moment strikes). So it’s not surprising that my mother, the daughter of a convert and fly guy would have questions about ‘the Church’. In fact, all I knew of my adult mother was her constant spiritual quest for peace and understanding. Goodness knows what sort of religious struggles she went through as a teenager.
Her quests led us to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, a failed attempt at Kwanzaa (the year she decided to focus more on ethnic background than religion), Ramadan, and finally no holidays as she became a Jehovah’s Witness in the last years of her life.
All the while, I hated church and all the pomp and circumstance that came with it. The screaming pastor, the praise dancing, the older woman’s shakes and screams when she ‘caught’ the Holy Ghost. I was sick of being forced to be ‘about that life’ in the midst of my parents’ struggles to make us (the children) whole because they felt broken.
So when life hit me in the form of physical and verbal abuse, alcoholism, death, grief, depression, unemployment, alcoholism, and financial strife I felt completely lost for a while. It made me think: what happens for us skeptics and other non-believers when life gets real? How do you save yourself when you’ve lost hope? What do you lean on when all your faith in humanity is gone?
Keep reading to find out more about my issues with Jehovah’s Witnesses in Part 3.
If you didn’t catch the beginning of my mental/emotional downspiral. Please read Suicide Part 1: The Beginning of Hopelessness.