Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blog Carnival: Chronic Illness and the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Where have I been?
Bitch, where haven't I been?
Paris. That's where I haven't been.
In my room, sitting on my ass watching cat videos? Maybe. You'll just never know, will you?

Today's post is part of the September Chronic Babe Blog Carnival and it asks:
Let's hear how your faith—or lack of, or explorations—have affected your life with chronic illness. Have you found support in a spiritual community? Found a like-minded support group? Received criticism from people of faith? Converted from one belief system to another? Let's hear about it! And let's get that conversation rolling.

This is a touchy subject for many people, and while I have no issues giving my opinion, I want people to remain calm and realize it is just that: my opinion through my experiences.

I'm going to back-pedal now.

When I was young, my parents were pretty regular about raising my brother and I in the Episcopalian Church. Our church in Pennsylvania was especially easy going and friendly, which made Sundays less of an ordeal as it was for some kids.

However, I never felt a connection to Jesus and all of his homeboys. The stories Sunday school teachers told were merely that - stories. And not very entertaining ones, either, because they all featured men and had not a single kick-ass woman like She-ra. I only dug Noah's story because of the animals and the bitchin rainbow at the end.

It was the people - more specifically the priest - at my church in Gulph Mills that I liked and respected because anytime I was in the hospital he would visit me and call me "tiger" whenever he saw me. This guy was awesome-sauce. However, my interest in religion was just never there and I was determined to be indifferent.

Remaining indifferent to religion became more difficult as the more I learned about them, the more disenchanted I became. The hypocrisy, the crimes against humanity and the Earth itself - all of it left a sour taste in my mouth. Feelings of exclusivity, superiority, encouraging war with and shunning people whose ideas/beliefs do not match your own - no, thanks. I'll have none of that.

There is no way I can take any comfort from any of this, especially when I am ill.

Yet, despite my wholly disapproval of organized religion and mankind's idiotic marketing campaigns against one another, I am not an atheist. Atheism depresses the ever-living crap out of me and I'd never be able to not believe in something.

Believe it or not, I am a spiritual person. I do believe there is something bigger than me out there and I have accepted my own ignorance on the details as par for the course. It's OK to not know everything, to not have all of the answers the universe possesses.

I'm not sure if my congenital heart defect is part of A Big Plan for me - I am definitely open to the idea, but I am not going to place any money on it. Maybe it was designed thus, maybe it was just a shitty draw of cards. I don't dwell on it, though, because I have better things to do with my life - like watching Doctor Who and collecting Monster High dolls.

As for like-minded people to receive support from, well, I'm not posting any online advertisements anytime soon. I enjoy deep conversation on the metaphysical with people I know and respect, but when it comes time for the next surgery, the only support I want is from my loved ones.

I accept that people take great comfort in leaving it up to God when it comes to their health, or relying on a God Knows Best philosophy to see them through tough times. If that's what gets someone through their day, so be it. I just don't subscribe to it nor appreciate the sentiment aimed in my direction.

I have yet to receive criticism from people of faith (but I look forward to your letters after this post /sarcasm) but I also don't go asking for trouble. I am a firm believer in Agree to Disagree/to each their own and not go get up in somebody's personal space to force my views on them - be it on their doorstep, in public, or a comment on their blog.