This is such an incredibly hard blog to write. Religion can be a very touchy subject to a lot of people. You don’t have to be my religion (or any) to read this and understand where my journey was and came to. So I would like to preface this by saying these are entirely my beliefs, questions, doubts about my own religion and experience.
I grew up Roman Catholic. Yes, the religion that has an expertise in making you feel guilty for everything (just jokes if you are reading this grandma). My mom took our family to mass every week for as long as I could remember. No matter what our family went through, my mom still put her faith in God. Remember this for later in my story. I always had a fine relationship with God. I guess you could say the most kids have up until high school. When I initially got sick, I turned to God for a short period of time. I begged Him to heal my wounds, or to protect me, or to stop the pain, or honestly to help in any way. As time went on, I began to lose my faith. I guess at first it was sadness and the feeling of being abandoned. But then it eventually turned more towards pure anger. I was angry that he wasn’t helping. I would sit in church and become more angry as mass went on and I heard the priest explain that if I put my faith in Him, He will protect me. Well with what I went through, I did NOT feel protected. So it would just be a very frustrating experience. It was almost like as I was giving up on things in my life, I began to give up on God and my religion as a whole. But, something important is that I still always believed there was a God, I just didn’t know if He was as powerful and incredible as I was told. I stopped going to mass, stopped bothering to talk to God at all, and I wouldn’t even talk ABOUT Him. My faith (or lack thereof) remained this way for 4 years. Until I stumbled upon something just about a year ago.
*Whether you choose to believe this or not-this is what happened*
One night, I was sitting on TikTok and just scrolling on my fyp. I stopped at this women I found who was just diagnosed with cancer. Her name was Tia Stokes. Now I was just shocked that she was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t seem to be angry or negative about it. This of course sparked my interest. How in the world could someone be given this horrible diagnosis and still be happy???? I scrolled to before she was diagnosed just so I could see what she was like “before”. I was looking for that change in personality that I could completely see in myself. The thing was-I couldn’t find it. There was this catch about Tia. She is Mormon. So-here and there she said some things about Jesus on her TikToks. Of course I rolled my eyes and chalked it up to “that’s what everyone says”. Luckily for me, Tia also went live on Youtube every night. So, one night I clicked on just to see her. I was planning on seeing sadness and negativity. But all I saw was faith and gratefulness. Gratefulness. Let that sink in. How could someone be grateful when they have cancer (or any illness)? Now I continued watching Tia and as the days kept going, I started to realize that this was no act. This wasn’t something that would get old. Tia truly was (and is) grateful for everything. On her lives, she talked a lot about God. The way she would explain it would leave me in tears every night. Someone who got why I feel like I was abandoned. And someone who explained to me that He has been there all along. This is personal, but I’d like to share my first ever dm with Tia:
Tia has grown into having quite a following on socials as well as on different TV news. This is because she inspires many. She is now someone I can talk to on a regular basis and she has given me advice countless times.
As you can see, Tia answered me pretty late (she lives in Utah), but I read it right away. It was this night that after I read what she said I thought to myself “ok, we will do it your way”. *This is something that my family doesn’t even know about.* I knelt to the side of my bed. Wiped the tears away that started the minute Tia sent me her response. And I began simply talking. Here I am, 2am, not knowing how to pray in the first place, bawling my eyes out. Quite the scene. I remember saying the exact words “whelp I have no clue what I’m doing down here”. But I explained to God that I didn’t know what my plan was. I said how frustrated and upset I was with Him. I explained that I need to find the joys of life again. I told him that I wanted my life back. I also explained to him the truth- I was scared. All the anger and frustration was in its root: fear. Fear of my future, the pain, life as a whole. I made a deal between Him and I that I’d like to keep to myself. Something that allowed me to let go of some control and give it to Him. This was when the unbelievable started happening:
- I found out that I was going to start the Specialized Transition Program at Kennedy Krieger
- I got a medical team that I began to trust and who listened to me
- I found out that I would graduate from college on time
- I got a high enough gpa to apply for the government job of my dreams (which I got)
- I was slowly feeling more grateful for even the littlest of things
- And the most important- I started feeling happier and less afraid
Ever since I had my conversation with God I have had incredible things happen in my life. Now, is this all because I knelt in desperation? I’m sure that’s a piece of it. I can now say that I pray every single night to God thanking Him for every little thing. Him and I have the best relationship we’ve ever had.
I get it. This is a tough blog to read and believe if you have any doubts about God and religion. But if you can’t follow the religious part, please understand this. Life is short. No one ever promised for it to be easy. But no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve been through-there are so many things to be grateful for throughout the day. Take me for instance. I’m grateful for the brain I have to be writing this now. I’m grateful for my laptop, my home, and this chair I’m sitting on. I’m grateful for my body for helping me throughout the day. There is SO MUCH out there that is good in our lives. Even if you feel like that is the hardest thing to do, just be grateful for the simplest thing you have. Breath-to keep you alive.