To Believe or Not Believe, That is the Question

March 11, 2010

Sr. Wantabee had two interesting hospital visits today. Bed 1, “undesignated” faith, bed 2 “Christian.” One a woman, one a man. She in her 80s, he in his 70s. She a hip replacement, he a knee replacement. Somehow they were further apart than the ten feet of wall between them.

She was the daughter of a father whose father was a Methodist minister that ignored the family for the sake of his church. The bitter father married her fundamentalist mother and the girls went to church. But early on she detected the hypocrisy when she and her friends made a pack not to let anyone go alone with the pastor who liked women. Gather money for the people in Africa but don’t bring them here! Indian children forced from homes on the reservation to get an education. Christianity is just hypocrisy. “But surely by your 80s, with more years behind than in front, you can distinguish between truth and the people who live truth and distort it for their own purposes? Truth is not less true because people twist it. Just because I disagree with my friend does not mean I don’t love her.” Churches gather money and build buildings while people starve, she responded. No religion is not for her. She is not a hypocrite.

In the next room lay a man, well read and traveled who had lost his job in the church because of a messy divorce those many years ago. But, said he, he has had a successful career for twenty years, married a wonderful woman who added three more children to his three and really life has turned out very nice. He has found a wonderful church and periodically is asked to serve church needs. Sr. Wantabee and he pondered reconciliation and writings of some of the best. She remembered her failures too and marveled at the restoration and joy she has found in using her talents differently than she had envisioned as a youth, or even ten years ago.

Bed one did not pray but a tear hung on the corner of her eye. She could not believe nor wanted to. Bed two bowed his head and prayed with Sr. Wantabee.

To believe or not believe. How does one give up being the victim to step across the great divide?