Friday, April 10, 2009

No regrets

[So to preface this post, I'll start with an apology. It's been awhile. What follows is something I jotted down today. I thought sharing them is better than nothing. So here you have it. It's not in my usual style. Just some unfinished thoughts.]

The other night I was asked a simple question, one that received an equally simple answer. One of my fellow students asked: if you were to come across irrefutable evidence that God does not exist, would you have any regrets about your life? No. The answer is simple, though explaining why is anything but. No, I would not regret believing, nor would I regret those aspects of my life which are directly attributable to this belief. Sure, I regret other things, but much of what I regret (and would regret) are the times where I have fallen short of what my belief requires. Of course, I might regret having held a false belief, but honestly, I am fairly certain that even that would not phase me much.

Why wouldn't I regret believing? Answering this question gets at the heart of what draws me to God. And though on some level it makes perfect sense to me, I'm not sure I can fully explain it. God changes people. God changes me. I am not me when I am in line with God. I am God's; I am God's beloved daughter. As such, I am loved. I matter. At the same time, I am nothing. I am worse than nothing. I am a nuisance. I am a leech, an ingrate. But I am loved. Being loved when you are nothing, when you are dwarfed by the majesty of the Almighty, being loved like that is life changing. And what's more, you matter to me now. You matter because you matter to God, because I must matter less to myself, because God teaches me how to love, how to be who I was made to be. If God was a delusion, then God was the delusion I needed to put my life into perspective. To relate better to you. And though I fail, daily, I am picked up. If it be not God who stands me up, at least I am standing. If I didn't believe God was picking me up again, I might not stand at all.

I have been abstract. Abstraction makes no sense, you say. So what do I mean? When you think of God you think of rules, of confinement, of obligation. When I think of God, I think of freedom. The cost of following God is real. But the reality is that the reward is greater. Even if heaven is a mere myth, the sort of freedom that comes with living a life a faith is great. It's not about rules, about going to Church or listening to the right music, or voting for the right politician, or passing out the most tracts. It's about grace. It's about being accepted for who you are. It's about bringing out your potential. It's about being a steward of your life, not a negligent owner. When I wake up, I am joyful. I have peace. I walk outside and my shoulders are not weighed down. I am not tethered to a job or a bad relationship or a mask. None of the stresses of the world matter to me, nor should they. If God isn't real, the stresses of the world should still be nothing. And that's just what they are. I need God. And even if I'm wrong, that need would not change. I am a mess. God puts me back together.

An opiate. That's what some people call it. I call it hope. grace. love. hallelujah.


harry b said...

Ah, but.... You say you'd have no regrets, but you say that with complete confidence that you will never find out anything of the sort. (Your subsequent paragraphs confirm this). I don't think you have thought yourself into the hypothetical properly. (Nor, I'll add, do I especially think that you should -- I'm just saying that you are not taking it seriously, so don't have a full handle on the emotional impact).

Lindsey said...

I don't know Harry. I really have thought about it, to the degree that I can make the separation. The thing is, and this is what I think was motivating the question, I think other people think that being a Christian is "a drab" (so to speak). I think they assume that it's all about rules and not doing fun things and feeling guilty. If it were, sure, I think I'd have regrets. But it's not, in fact it's the opposite. So in that respect, though it may be true that I can't really think through the hypothetical, I *can* think through what it's actually like to believe. And it's far from oppressive. Granted, it matters that I genuinely believe, and that I believe God is the sort that I believe he is. If I were a different sort of Christian, or even a half-ass one, I think maybe I would have regrets. But as it stands, I really don't think I would. And that, I think, surprises people. But it only surprises them because of what they mistakenly think it's like to be in my shoes.

harry b said...

They don't know you very well, do they!