Death has affected how I practice my religion.
Honestly, I don't really know what religion I am anymore.
I was raised as a Catholic. When I went off to college I questioned a lot about my faith. Mostly I questioned birth control and the church's take on it. Not because I wanted to have carefree sex, instead I wanted to be a responsible person and only have so many children. I went and talked face-to-face with my college parish priest. He told me what the church doctrine was...stuff I all ready knew...and then he said I needed to do what was right for me. Taking my Catholic upbringing to heart I felt torn. I would be living as a sinner because I choose to use birth control. It was easy to turn away from the church shortly after that when my dad died suddenly. My next questions were about how a loving god could hurt people so much. I had no idea what emotional pain really was yet.
Several years later I did join a new church. I lived in a different town and had a young son and another baby on the way. My husband and I migrated towards the faith he grew up in. It was a Christian church and I felt welcomed into it's fold. I felt inspired every Sunday. I had found a part of myself that had been missing for too long. When we moved again, I thought finding another new church would be an easy task. Fort Wayne, IN has been called The City of Churches, but after trying 15+ churches of 30 I thought might work, I felt more frustrated than ever. In the end we just attended the church where the kids went to pre-school. It was the easiest thing. Not the best reason for going to a church. No inspiration, no connection, easy to leave when our next move happened.
The church I am currently a member of is where my husband went as a youth, and my in-laws are still very active members. We moved back to town and a week and a half later we joined the church. The minister told me he was surprised we hadn't joined the week before! No choice in where we went now!
Fast forward about eight years. I had been feeling very uninspired at church and then my mom got sick. I did find comfort in my ministers. They are caring souls. The church as a whole just doesn't do anything for me anymore. Towards the end of my mom's life I did have several 'God is Here' moments. I TOTALLY do believe in God. I believe in spirits, angels and fate.
Read: What Time is Dinner in Heaven? for my take on what happened concerning the paranormal when my mom died.
I am just not positive I believe in church, or even just one god anymore.
I have been reading a lot about how the bible came to be. Stuff written by historians and I think I am so skeptical anymore. Too skeptical maybe.
On Easter, I took a nice long walk in the woods and definitely saw God's good all around me. At dinner that night I shared a meal with family and six international students, away from their families and from several faiths. I try to be thoughtful, kind and considerate in all I do and raise my children to do the same.
I have so many more thoughts on this subject matter, but I think I have gone on enough for one day.