By the grace of God . . .

Now, I’m not one to force my religious views on anyone. Each to their own, I say. However, my mother posted a comment on my Facebook page that triggered a thought in me and I thought I’d share. She commented that she finds it hard to maintain her faith at times like these, referring to Moo’s test results.

It made me think. I am what might be called an agnostic when it comes to religion. Don’t get me wrong, I have an undeniable, unshakeable belief in God. It’s just religion I have an issue with. I was born into the Catholic church. Something I have held dear all my life, not because I was raised in the church. I most definitely wasn’t. Being Catholic was important to me because it is a part of my cultural heritage. My mother is from the Seychelles, a Catholic country, therefore it was a part of her and, as a result, a part of me. So deeply held was this affection that I was quite shocked and horrified when I found out that I had accidentally excommunicated myself by marrying outside of the church without my Bishop’s blessing. Having not been raised in the church, I didn’t know that I needed it.

Religion is basically another man’s way of telling you how to maintain your relationship with God. It’s rules and regulations that govern what you do and, if you do differently, you are doing it wrong. It’s the basis of most of the discord in the world and has resulted in countless pointless deaths, just because one person chooses to follow one religion’s guidance over another. Somehow, the fundamental principles of love, forgiveness and acceptance get lost. Your relationship with God is personal. It’s between you and Him. Who am I or any other to tell you how to maintain that? No one has the right to criticise my marriage except my husband or me. A relationship is between two people and is for those two people to run. It’s the same with God.

As for who God is to me, He is the rock that I lean on everyday, the best friend that I talk to, the Spirit that guides me. You may have gathered that I don’t go to church. Yet, every day, I acknowledge that my life is full of the blessings and miracles that God has granted me. Moo is one of them. Her test results were awful, unbelievably painful to conceive of, and yet, not once did I blame God. It’s not His fault. If it weren’t for Him, she would not be here at all. She died for six minutes on the day she was born. If nature had had its way, she would never have survived her birth. It is only by the grace of God that she is here today. I had nurses and doctors completely shocked and perplexed by her survival, telling me that it was impossible, that they don’t know how she did it. I know how. It was a combination of that little girl’s indomitable spirit and God holding her tightly.

People forget that we live on a planet with limited resources and that human beings are, essentially, a mammalian weed, taking over and slowly destroying the planet we live on. Animals and plants are going extinct, while we grow palm oil to make peanut butter smoother. Rainforests are being torn down, so we can have bigger houses, more land for cattle. Endangered animals are hunted down just for the fun of it. It’s barbaric. There has to be some control on the growth of the human population and nature does this with genetic tinkering. Not everyone can live to be 100. It’s heartbreaking when it impacts you but there is no other way. So yes, I could sit all day wondering “why her?” but, equally, “why not?”. It’s just the way it has to be, for someone. There is no one to blame. That would just be a waste of energy. I’d rather use my energy to love and appreciate who and what I have in my life.

So, yes, my life has some horribly painful elements to it but it also has a lot of joy and light and blessings and miracles. It has wonderful, loving friends and family. It has sunshine and showers, rainbows and puddles. It has laughter, a lot of laughter, and a few tears. It is rich beyond measure. But most of all, it has Moo, my joy and my reason for being. And for that, I thank God.

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