I was raised not on religion but on Judy Blume books. "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" had a huge impact on the way I spoke to a singular deity.
And then I went to church. I became a testifying, devout born-again Christian. For about two years. Go ahead and laugh, that's what people normally do with born-again Christians, who are seen as having their head in the sands of conservatism, believing that ancient fictional stories are true history and law. I've been there.
The truth is, being a little Christian gave me a framework to survive the harrowing high school years. Without that framework, I would've been gobbled up. I was mentally very vulnerable. I have no regrets because it was my decision.
Now I am surrounded by fallen Catholics, cultural Jews and unimpressed Protestants, and committed atheists.
I myself am no longer impressed with the church or with the stories of Jesus. When I was an ardent Christ follower, I was told (and it was a bible verse apparently) that once you have committed to Jesus, you are saved and you are forever saved. No matter what. I find that hard to believe now. With everything I've done and thought, that the son of God will still take me to heaven? I find everything hard to believe now, including the reason that I'd even want to be saved.
And so I've had a relationship with God on my own terms.
It's highly recommended by counselors everywhere (do you like how I'm lazily not attributing that to any source?) that a belief in a higher power, that prayer and/or meditation, has the power to help you heal and have a positive outlook. I believe that. So I've chosen to believe and pray.
Prayer used to come easily to me. Usually in short bursts, or maybe a longer meditation of everything I am grateful for. I always felt peaceful afterwards, so that's reason enough to do it.
Now, I'm bored with prayer. It doesn't come easily. I fall asleep after five words in. Does that incomplete prayer even count?
My parents have been going through a church resurgence in their senior years. They attend each Sunday and they like to call me to tell me what the sermon was about, how it was delivered, and how impressed they were with the minister. It takes every ounce of patience not to say "I DON'T CARE!"
And I try to just express gratitude to God, but increasingly I just want to tell God what to do. It's like God needs direction these days because our world is so fucked. Actually that may be what uber-conservative Christians think too, that they can just control it all. Dear God, don't let me be that kind of thinker.
I don't know how to end this. Amen? Lame.