Beliefs are a very powerful thing. Our entire existence resonates around the things that we believe. We believe we are beautiful or ugly… we believe we are smart or stupid.. we believe we deserve good things or that bad things will always happen to us.
“I think therefore I am”. One of the most famous philosophical understandings of all times. If we are capable of thinking then we must exist, and the things that we think must make us who we are. If we think that things can only get better, then we will keep trying till they do. If we think that things can only get worse, then we’ll give up. Seems pretty simple.
Well, what about bigger beliefs? What about religious and spiritual beliefs? They too make us who we are and affect how we deal with things. Before my father died I was a bit more agnostic. I acknowledged something was out there, but I didn’t really know what. I’m still not sure, but I have turned my belief a little more towards religion. My son started Catholic school, and we started to attend Mass on Sundays and I like and appreciate the idea of the afterlife. I like and appreciate the idea that my father is looking down on us… or checking in on us in some way and seeing how we are doing and is proud of us.
I had an interesting experience this past weekend in which we had gone to a party with some of my son’s father’s old high school friends. It was mentioned that our son goes to Catholic school and I later heard one of the women talking to my son’s father about it. He was saying how he hated it and that he thought the whole idea was stupid, but kept his mouth shut around my son. That is fine, he doesn’t have to believe the things that we do. My brother is a complete atheist and feels much more comfort KNOWING that when we die our bodies get eaten by worms and that’s it… no mystery.
I was raised to understand that everyone has their own ideas, and their own beliefs, and that no one really knows for sure.. it’s what resonates with you best that works. What bothered me about the conversation between the woman and my ex, was the tone of disapproval. I don’t want my son growing up feeling that way.
The next day my son, who is 4, and I were putting together a puzzle. I had found it under a stack of books and told him that I had forgotten about it. That “Papa” had bought it for him when he was a little baby and was too young to use it at the time.. but it was perfect for him now. After we finished the puzzle he looked at it somberly and I asked him what he was thinking. “I wish Papa was here to see us do this”. That little sentence broke my heart… but thankfully he has been learning about God and Heaven and I was able to say, “I think Papa is watching us from Heaven and is very proud of you”.
Now, I don’t KNOW that’s true. I don’t KNOW that my father isn’t just the pile of ashes in the urn on my piano and that’s all that’s left… but I do know.. that doesn’t comfort me, and it doesn’t comfort my 4 year old…. and doesn’t hurt anyone to for us to believe that Papa is watching and proud of us.