This is the eight post in a series about my live this year. I would like to talk about the part that faith played in my recovery from cancer.
While at this point in my life I do not identify with the concept of organized religion, I believe that many great teachers have walked the earth, and that we can learn from all of them. I am of the school of thought that believes that there is definitely a mountain top, and there are several roads that lead there.
Since this is Christmas Eve, I find myself reflecting on one of those great teachers and the relationship I personally feel with Jesus. I never connected much with religion until I was well into my 40’s. While i grew up in a very southern American culture, I never identified with any of it, the religion included. I never really had religion forced on me except that I was taught that if I wasn’t good I would surely go to hell, but I never believed that either, not at all. That was all the teaching I got. That and another punishment for not being good was that Jesus wouldn’t love me.
So, my searching for truth has been of my own accord, and a path I started to follow as an adult, with complete freedom to accept or reject. I was introduced to a wonderful concept of Jesus at Unity Church, where I learned to see things from a metaphysical perspective. I saw him as a great teacher, and I wanted to learn what he came to teach. It was the idea that I could learn from a master how to master my own life that really appealed to me. I learned that he was not only a teacher, but also a brother, as he taught that all of us are children together, and loved. I learned that the will of the Universe for my life is that I always prosper, in spirit, soul, and body. The most fantastic thing he came to teach us was our amazing power. He assured us that nothing was impossible.
I became totally focused on exploring these teachings, and reading and studing the Bible because the highest priority of my life. I feel a great deal of resonance with parts of it, and am completely turned off by parts of it as well. But, I fully identified with the basic message of the gospel…the Good News, because good news was exactly what he came to preach. I learned to see that the concept of redemption is so much bigger, and vaster than is possible for me to even fully grasp.
I was led from Unity to a fundamentalist church where I was taught that the Holy Spirit was a real force in our lives. I was drawn to the gifts of the Spirit, and the literal interpretation of the Good News as it applied to my everyday life. I learned a lot of in that church. One of the most important things I learned was how to take control of my thoughts. When I first started going to that church the message was extremely positive, and very helpful to me as I saw that I could live my life in a state of faith. That faith got me through a difficult financial time, and changed my life.
As time went on, the message became less helpful to me. When Bush was elected, it seemed to bring out the political ugliness, not as bad as with Trump, but bad enough that I knew I had to leave. Before I left I met with the pastor and told him why I was leaving, and I really didn’t hold back. After visiting a few other churches, I made a quality decision to give up trying to deal with church. That was several years ago. Over the past few years I have made peace with all this. I definitely identify as a follower of the teachings of Jesus, as best I can. I am not perfect. I also am thankful that I have received the redemption that he came to freely give. It was the belief that the will for me was life and not death that got me through this past year. It was remembering how to stand in faith that made me know I was going to make it. There were certain scriptures that strengthened me, such as, “Beloved, I would that you would prosper and be in health.” It was the understanding that not only could I control my mind at all times, but that my survival depended on it. I had to be more disciplined than I thought possible, but I allowed no negative words to be spoken over me or my condition. And through it all, I saw myself as he sees me, healed and whole.
I am so very sorry that so many people who call themselves “Christians” and do it in such a loud and obnoxious way have cast such a nasty shadow on concepts that have been such a marvelous light in my own life.
Whatever you believe, and whatever you call it, I would hope that on the eve of the birth of this teacher you would know, beyond a doubt, that you are loved and that (if I may be so bold as to say) God’s will for you is good. Miracles do exist, and faith is the substance of things hoped, the evidence of things unseen.