Mark Twain

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Through My Care Giver Eyes - Faith

I avoid talking about religion and politics. Both topics are polarizing. People typically have strong views about both, and those views are not generally changed by discussion.

But I have touched on the topic of faith in my care giving series. Maybe a few more comments now won't hurt.

I was raised a practicing Catholic. I owe a great deal of my good education to the Catholic Nuns who were my teachers from grades 1 to 8. And I believe my morality and views on life can be traced back to my religious upbringing.

As an adult, I like to think of myself as a good person, treating others as I would like to be treated, finding the good in everyone, keeping an open mind regarding others ideas and positions ... and I still believe there is a God. But I am not as comfortable with an organized religion as I was in my youth. In fact, against some of the precepts of my religious education, I do not believe that any one religion has the total attention of God to the exclusion of everyone else.

Mom still is a strong traditional Catholic. I take mom to Mass every Sunday. Mom's faith is a vital part of who she is, and she has many social contacts at church. She believes in all the traditions and the rituals. She has lived her whole life never questioning anything about her religion.

Looking back mom's relationship with her church and God, I can see how it sustained her. Her favorite saint was always St. Jude, Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes. Hopeless Causes. A sad indication of how she felt about her life for so long.

I guess in the end St. Jude came through for her. Dad died when mom was in her 40s. After he was gone, she finally was able to build a good life for herself. Work, travel, friends, hobbies - she finally a chance to live normally. But 24 years is a long time to live with such unhappiness. I often say, I wouldn't have put up with my dad, but put in her shoes with 2 young children, no job and no family support nearby ... who knows what I would have done.

Mom's faith was her lifeline, and St. Jude finally paid attention to her prayers. I can't help but wonder if she was just waiting and waiting for some divine intervention. Could things have been different if she took some kind of action.

Still, 24 years ... "hopeless causes" ... makes me sad even to this day.

I guess I am more of a questioner! As an adult, when I thought about God, I didn't find comfort and answers in organized religion. I believe that we all were created by God with intelligence, wit and strength, and we are expected to use those gifts as we live our lives. To sit back and wait for Him to fix things is to ignore the tools He gave us to fix things ourselves.

Still ... when I have lost strength and feel I can't take another step ... I turn to prayer.

So I do believe in God, the same God that mom believes in ... and I think He is fine with both our approaches. I don't think He judges on how we believe, just as long as we believe.

A well known poem called Footprints speaks most closely to how I felt this last year has been for me and my relationship with God.

One night I had a dream
--I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me
and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints."
"I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied,
"My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

Mary Stevenson

I guess I got carried a few times this year.

Hope He doesn't forget where I live. :-)

Retired Knitter
Care Giver and Daughter

10 comments:

  1. Like you I stay away from politics and religion. I think with religion, whatever gets you through. So glad you could get what you need.It has been a rough year. Hugs

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  2. Nice that your Mom still gets to go to church. It is her comfort zone.
    Just gotta say, those footprints look like they are coming up OUT of the sand as opposed to sinking in to it. Weird eh?

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  3. Your mother is a woman of faith RK.
    It is written in the bible Hebrews 11;6
    "And without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who coes to God must beluieve that He is and that H e is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

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  4. He won't forget where you live. And since your mom had it all her life- then that will be the last thing to go. A blessing. sandie

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  5. Love your post - very thoughtful, thought-provoking, and honest.

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  6. I really appreciated the honesty of your post. Totally agree with your opening. Prayer and faith has sustained me through good and difficult time. Thanks for your posts!

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  7. Are you kidding? God has YOUR number on speed dial! He is all around you, just waiting to hold you when you call. Lean, put all your weight on God, and He'll take it. God bless you!

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  8. I was raised a practicing Catholic too and am not so big on organized religion these days but when the chips are down, how can one not turn to what they know best? I still believe in God but know that he embraces all.

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  9. I think you said what many of us feel nowadays. As the generations go on we have different opinions on religion than our parents did for many reasons. Perhaps the previous generations strong belief in their religion made for a better world (as the world has gotten crazier). I believe that whatever religion or non-religion we are there is one God who loves us all no matter what and in the end is waiting for us to come home.

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