I Believe

I remember memorizing the Nicene Creed in confirmation class as a kid in the Episcopal church. It made sense as an assignment. We said it almost every Sunday, and it was a comprehensive summary of the basics — God, Jesus, Mary, the Holy Spirit, baptism, resurrection, the whole bit.

As a teenager, I wondered if I really believed every word, every phrase. I believed in God, but some Sundays I wasn’t so sure about only Son, and virgin Mary, and catholic Church. I said the creed aloud with everyone else, but I’d drop out for whatever phrases made me uncomfortable. It was important to me that I really did believe every word I was saying.

As a college student, I filled my mind with facts and ideas from all over the world. On occasion I went to First Day worship at a Quaker Meeting House. No creed recitation or sacrificial rituals there. We meditated in silence, and occasionally shared an inspired Christian reflection. College was a time of exploration. My beliefs and values swirled in solution with personal freedom and academic enlightenment.

The influx of Other beliefs didn’t stop at graduation. My colleagues celebrate their own holidays at work or with time off. During my commute, I learn about other religions and traditions from radio programs and courses on CD. Yet, most Sundays you’ll find me in an Episcopal church, saying that creed I learned so long ago. But I say it differently now.

Somewhere along the way, a Californian told me, “You give power to what you believe.” It’s a rather Tinkerbell philosophy of belief, but as with most fairy tales, it holds truth. The tears we shed during Peter Pan are a reflection of our belief in that power. In affirming the Creed, I give power to God, choosing to believe in God as revealed by generations of inspiration by the Holy Spirit.

On this planet, we all make choices. As you reach middle age, you become intensely aware of the choices you’ve made: the paths you haven’t taken, the doors you’ve closed, the commitments you’ve made. Each colleague’s absence for a funeral reminds you of your own mortality. You create a bucket list, because now you really know that you won’t be able to do it all.

Just as you can’t experience everything in one lifetime, there are too many traditions and religions out there to believe in them all. But don’t be afraid to choose. Choose what beliefs to live by. Claim their strength and security, the power and the peace they provide. Believe.

This entry was posted in hope, religion, time. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to I Believe

  1. Jen says:

    Thank you for this LOVELY post!

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