When someone we love dies, especially at a young age or by violent means, our whole belief system often gets a massive shake up. The certainty that we once knew has gone. That foundation we depended on is no longer stable and true. We find ourselves in a strangely altered new world.
Our faith becomes a target and gets an overhaul. We want to know why, and we ask the question over and over. The meaning in our life has gone and we wonder what it’s all about anyway. We cannot believe that our God has allowed this to happen. The questioning keeps on; as we attempt to find the answers, we so badly want. Oh how we wish we could get some relief and bring some understanding into the darkness we find ourselves in.
After a great deal of soul searching, many of us will find that our faith does indeed sustain us in our grief. However, there are many I know where the opposite has been sadly true.
I was sent to church as a small child, to learn about a religion and a God that judged, condemned and punished. I heard about the wrath of God every single week. I learned to fear and feel guilty. I myself believed for quite some time, after my son died, that I was being punished by God. I know many of you do too, you have told me. It doesn’t matter whether it was something that happened years ago or last week. We believe that is why. Our faith is not sustaining us then, quite the opposite.
Some have found that the community of faith to which they belong was not able to be there for them. Those whom they expected would be their greatest support could not help them. It was devastating for them and their disappointment was palpable.
I can now say that my belief sustains me in so many ways. My faith gives me strength when I feel like falling down. I am comforted by the knowing that I will see my son again. I am part of a community if I so seek. My questions are answered and my path is illuminated. I am inspired each day to live by my faith and by my heart. My faith truly does sustain me….now.
Maureen Hunter 2011