I am not religious. I was brought up in the Christian Church but in my late teens decided religion is not for me. I’m not saying there is no God. I’m also not saying there is a God. Just that, for me, Church is nowhere I need to be.
I’m also not particularly spiritual. It’s great as a concept, and as I’ve said many times I watch Oprah’s Soul Sunday programmes and feel a warm fuzzy glow afterwards. Which lasts all of five minutes before I remember it’s way too simplistic a solution for someone in a situation such as mine. Asking the Universe to get my laundry done doesn’t get my laundry done.
I am fascinated by life after death though – we all wish it existed. I’m an avid watcher of programmes by Mediums such as John Edward (even travelled 100 miles to see him live when he came to England) and Teresa Caputo. But I’m still not convinced. When I hear Teresa say things like “when you didn’t die in that car crash it was your Mum watching over you from the Other Side” I think to myself what about all the people who do die in car crashes? Does that mean their dead relatives don’t love them and aren’t watching over them from the Other Side?!
I had a friend whose Dad hung himself in the garage when my friend was just a child. 40 years later my friend, too, hung himself in the garage after a long struggle with depression. His poor Mum and sister had to face that twice. Surely if his Dad could have intervened to help from the Other Side he would have.
Having said all that things have happened in my life that, on the surface, look unexplainable. As you know, I’m having a rough time of it at the moment. At the weekend I was just so exhausted from the relentlessness of the struggle I said out loud “if anyone out there is listening, please just let something nice happen to me for a change. Something huge that will change my life for the better and bring me some joy!” And literally the next day I received an email saying 3 of my photographs had been accepted by iStock, following a competition I entered before Christmas and had forgotten about! iStock is owned by Getty Images, the number one stock photo company in the world, and it’s really quite hard to get accepted by them. OK, so I’m only going to make a few dollars on each picture so it’s not quite the monumental life changing event I asked for but it still made my day.
There is a flip side to events like these, however. I’ve always tried to do something useful with my life. I’ve gone through a LOT one way and another and the reason I blog, write media articles and talk about my experiences is to share the things I’ve learned with others in a similar situation. If my life’s purpose is to help others through my struggles then I try very hard to fulfill that purpose. Everyone tells me I should write a book, and I’d love to. But I just don’t feel well enough. By the time I’ve cooked, eaten, bathed, walked the dog, looked after my parents and seen to the running of my home there is not an ounce of energy or brain power left. I’ve tried to make a bargain with God and the Universe: stop clobbering me with new crises and symptoms to deal with, let me be well enough to simply think straight and I’ll write the damned book. Or let me win the lotto, so’s I can employ people to cook, clean and run my home then I’d have the energy to write. But, if the past few months are anything to go by it’s pretty obvious God and the Universe aren’t listening.
In difficult times it’s human to look for Divine help and intervention. To bargain with God and the Universe. It’s easier to cope if you think some loving energy force is watching over you, rather than the fact that actually kid you’re all on your own.
As I’ve said before, nothing has fallen in my lap from the heavens. Everything good that’s ever happened to me has been the result of my own sheer hard work and determination. Even having my photos accepted happened because I spend hours studying and perfecting my craft, freezing my butt off outside taking pictures every day of my life, and I spent hours making sure my competition entries were immaculate. It didn’t just happen willy nilly. Things which happen by pure luck or chance are events I would be more inclined to believe were due to some kind of Divine intervention. Only they never happen to me.
I still hope we travel on to somewhere better when this life is over. I’ve found my time here on earth really hard going and I’m ready for a rest. And I hope that, if there are any lessons to be learned I’m learning them, because I damned sure don’t want to have to pass this way again.