Friday, February 20, 2009

Another topic I've been avoiding- Religion

When I first started this blog I was pretty adamant I was going to avoid the whole religion topic. It can be so very divisive. And I wanted a place where people could come together.

A while ago I had someone send me a pretty nasty email. They had found my Pregnancy Loss Ribbons Awareness site and felt the need to question me further. They suspected I belonged to a particular religious group from one of the links on my resource page. They then told me they could not support me or my site because of that. They were very offended. Personally offended. Like I had knocked on their door and demanded their attention and tried to cram my beliefs down their throats. They then got very personal and told me I was not a Christian. And it went downhill from there.

So I usually try to tiptoe around the issue. About God. About Faith. I figure I have my beliefs in religion and you have yours and maybe they are the same and maybe they are different, but let's all be friends and help support each other as we learn to live without our children.

I occasionally read a comment or post that someone's faith is what pulled them through when they lost their child. How very wonderful. I am so glad that they have that support and strength. I know others do not. And this is what I kind of think about that.

I think maybe there are three types of people.

1. People who have religion and faith and feel that no matter what happens they can rely on God and trust him.

2. People who used to have religion and faith and currently feel very confused, conflicted, hurt and/or angry. They are not sure how or why a loving God would allow these things to happen.

3. People who do not have religion

My definitions may be off a bit. You will not believe how long this just took me to type those out substituting words like 'religion, faith, beliefs, and other alternate words. This is the best I can do for now.

I think we can all coexist together. I'm not trying to stir anything up. Really. Please don't take it that way.

People from group 1 and 3 LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from others in their group. They feel strengthened and supported.

People from group 1 and 3 maybe don't want to hear from the other group. They either believe or they don't and probably will never change their minds about the topic. They may even get angry at the other group.

The people from group 2 probably sympathize with both group 1 and 3. And at some point they probably cross over to belong to either group 1 or 3.

So what does this have to do with anything? A lot, I think. At least a lot to explain about why I don't talk about religion much. Not because I don't have faith. But because I don't want to isolate or offend any of you who come here to get support about child loss and aren't looking for a Sunday school lesson.

But I do want to post occasionally about topics that touch on religion. I'd like to share my story. Sometimes I'd like to share books or quotes that are religion-y. I do want to share things that helped ME and some of them are indeed churchy.

So, I apologize to anyone who didn't sign up for that. Skip those posts. I'll try to give a heads up that it is coming.

I hope today is gentle for you.


Heather said...

Emily, I'm from group 2. I'm not scared to say it. I used to be in group 1...well as much as a teenager could have been. But I'm a sceptic and though my family is all part of group one and most of my friends makes for some rough comversations. Sometimes the last thing I want to hear is that God has his reasons and that he is compassionate...BAH! BUT, personaly, I HAVE to believe that there is a God and that he did what was best for my Logan, even if it wasn't for me. Otherwise, I'd go insane. I agree, when people are passionate about anything in life they don't want anyone coming around and stirring their little pots. I say get over it. Life is about change and controversy and a little stirring never hurt anyone. As a memeber of group 2, and someone who lost their baby less than a month ago, I know that I understand both sides. I also know that strong words being forced down my throat from ANY side is hard to swallow. I'm a tip-toer. I don't like to rock the boat. But when you are grieving, which side you are on is a non-issue. It hurts. It hurts for each and every one of us. And I don't care how much religion you have or don't have, you still question and wonder...(if you believe) God made us in his imaige, and he made those feelings. There's nothing wrong with feeling them. And if you don't believe... it certainly is understandable. But frankly why is this such an issue for anyone? Grief is grief. Loss is loss and no matter who you are or what you believe we are all on the same team. We lost a child. There is nothing scarier or more sad than loosing a child. Religion or not, we can all relate.

Kritta22 said...

I think this is a safe place. I think that religion helps some, not others. I may mention my religion because it's should a huge part of my life. I don't do it to anger anyone.

I'm sorry that someone took the time to hurt you like that. i wish we could all just support each other here.

i heart you bunches!

Lechelle said...

I think it is fair that you give us, your readers, all the resources you feel can help.
We have the option to pick and choose which posts we allow to help us. You have done a wonderful job giving us resources that have nothing to do with religion, so providing us with posts that are religious will give us even more posts to choose from. Even if I disagreed with something you said in a post and felt there was nothing useful for me, I still have the choice to walk away uplifted because I felt the care of someone reaching out.

I am so sorry that someone said hurtful things like that to you. It seems like such a sad waste of energy to drag down someone when the subject matter is this kind of loss. I agree with lcantletitgo, there is nothing sadder than losing a child and we are all on the same team, and with Kritta22 - I too heart you bunches!

Emily said...

You guys rock. I appreciate your comments and support. I agree that this is not the time for us to be divisive- I am willing to take help and support from whoever and wherever I can find it. There is enough hurt without us adding to the hurt ourselves.

It has also been expressed to me that sites like this are only for parents that have lost a child. But if a grandmother, or an aunt feels that they belong here than I say, 'Welcome'. We surely need all the support we can get.

Thanks for the positive strokes, guys! I heart you bunches, too!

Ok, guess I better get posting (religious or not, lol)

Kara Chipoletti Jones of GriefAndCreativity dot com said...

Hey Emily, I don't know if you will have seen it, but a few months ago, there was a spiritual roundtable of writing over at Glow In the Woods -- they called it the "Are You There, God? It's Me, Medusa" Blogolympics, and had bereaved mums and dads of all different beliefs writing and sharing. Here's the entries, sorted by label:

Just thought you might appreciate the content and ways they shared -- very diverse, but peaceful sharing.

I'm looking forward to reading more about your own spiritual experiences!


Barbara said...

I think you get to say whatever you want on your site, whatever your beliefs. I applaud your belief that, "I have my beliefs in religion and you have yours and maybe they are the same and maybe they are different, but let's all be friends and help support each other as we learn to live without our children."

That's what it's all about.

life is far too short and fragile to be offended by what someone else believes or doesn't believe. We should all here in fellowship to gain and to give comfort after experiencing what for us is the worst thing in the world.

I also think there is another group of people to add to your 3 who consider themselves religious in so much as they take part in the big celebrations such as weddings and funerals but for the most part their belief is very much in the background and they are ok with that. That seems to be the case for many in the UK. In general we're not an overtly religious country.

I've been avoiding writing about religion on my blog because I don't want to offend anyone. People say "god bless" and I don't mind one bit despite being an atheist. The place from where that wish comes from is kindness, why would that offend me?

I think the person who upset you is quite quite misguided. Compassion should be our aim, not which particular creed we follow.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 2 :(

Anonymous said...

I was just glad to find this site to get support and comfort no matter what one believes.....we all have at least 1 thing in common of having a loss of a child..i m in gp 2- but as i take it day by day to cope and heal..i find myself having more faith and hope in God- sometimes feeling im in gp 1- just knowing my family, friends and neighbors are there for me..the kindness and love they show..since they have so much faith and belong to the church- these are the people who have been giving me never abandoning me...

Erin said...

I'm group one, but I still think my faith puts me at odds with some in my faith and sometimes I feel like a group 2. I think you and I have the same faith, but my experience with losing my child changed my faith in (I think) very positive ways. Before I had my daughter, I was going through the motions of my faith but I harbored huge doubts that I kept secret from everyone (many I still do). My daughters life and death though changed me. I experienced things that I can't explain and I continue to learn from her life. I still feel a bit different from others of my faith and but the doubts have disapeared. Now, when I try to deny my faith based on my logic, I think about my daughter and I can't deny anything because I know what I saw and experienced. Still, I think a lot of what my church teaches and some of what is practiced is kind of off base. I don't think anyone understands god as well as they claim, and I am just a bit more laid back than others because I think we sometimes put emphasis on the wrong things and miss what god really wants us to know. I remain completely active in my church though because I think that really everyone is well meaning and doing the best they can, and so am I. I totally agree with Icantletitgo though because loss just hurts. No matter what you believe, it hurts. I beleive that I will be with my daughter again, but that doesnt stop me from aching for her now.