Having promised myself that I would avoid writing about politics and religion, I lied. It’s religion’s turn today. For those amongst us who err on the less religious side, please carry on reading, I promise it won’t be painful.
My mother-in-law visited us this week. It was lovely to see her as she lives in London and, although we go up to visit her there whenever we can, she hasn’t been able to come down lately due to ill health. So it was a treat, especially for our youngest, as she’s the only Grandma he has now. At least in this world.
When she’s feeling well, she’s a very busy lady. Not with shopping, gossiping or ‘doing lunch.’ She’s busy with God. Now, I knew through my partner’s tales of going to church as a child that she was a spiritual woman but I’d never really taken the time before to ask her about her faith. My eyes usually glaze over as soon as someone mentions religion, especially if someone is trying to ‘recruit me.’ Now, I’m open to most things, including religion, but if someone tries to ram it down my throat, its just going to come right back up.
But this week I took the time to ask my MIL how ‘it all worked.’ Very articulate me. As she explained about her particular faith, her face lit up. Her eyes sparkled and she spoke with such quiet eloquence and belief it would have been impossible not to hear her. She spoke of ‘blending,’ how different factions of her church across the country would meet to talk about their faith, share food, stories and belief. It was inspiring.
My eldest, having just completed his GCSE in Religious Studies, joined in the conversation and although, at fifteen, he doesn’t like to agree with too many people (it’s a teenage thing), he found what she had to say compelling. Even if he didn’t agree.
She talked of finding meaning in everything, of trying hard to be tolerant in very testing times but the most obvious thing from my conversation with her was that she was happy. The religion aspect aside, I was touched by her finding such joy.
I was christened as a baby but I don’t live in a particularly religious town and, as a consequence, people don’t have much to believe in. And that’s a shame. Belief in something is the beginning of self-belief, of the idea that you can believe in anything.
Am I going to be knocking on my local church’s door today? No. But, I’m always willing to have an open mind and it may happen one day.
Tomorrow, politics, and I’ll be writing about Wyclef Jean bidding to become Haiti’s President … (whatever next, Dizzee Rascal for Prime Minster? Actually, that’s a great idea ..!)