As I mentioned in the introduction to step 2, so many people lose faith at some point along the way. Typically happy, faith-abiding people have something somewhere that throws them completely off their track. But why? What happens in our lives that can take someone off a path they feel so surely in?
I was never a very religious person. I did occasionally go to church as I got older (more to come), I did try to talk to god about the things that plagued me, and I eventually even switched my faith in order to try and connect with something bigger than myself. So for me, losing religion is merely speculative. But I can understand from the perspective that I never really CONNECTED with a higher power. I never found that THING that anchored me to the ground, the way it did so many others.
My cousin, who is 21 now and just a wonderful human being, has been in touched with his spiritual higher power for as long as I can remember. He leads bible study at his college. He goes to church every Sunday before meeting me at football games. He quotes bible passages to describe the things going on in his life, he prays to his higher power for forgiveness and in bad times, he literally bleeds holiness.
He has never lost his religion.
So how does it happen?
I asked my father (who yes, is a very devout man, regardless of everything that has happened) how he fell away from his faith once, when he was still in the thick of falling apart. He waved his hand around his head, pointing to nothing in particular, and said “look at the world now. how could you not”.
It was then that I got it. You see, faith is a deep seeded, unbelievable, BELIEF in something bigger than you, regardless of your religion. It is the belief that their is something guiding you, teaching you, driving you forward. But in the face of death, destruction, endless natural disasters and terrorist attacks: how do we, as humans, rationalize that some force bigger than us has CHOSEN this path? That those terrible things we see every day are not awful punishments, but instead life lessons that are somehow meant to help us while ruining someone else? I could understand why my father stopped going to church during his darkest times: he couldn’t contemplate how his God had let him go down this path.
I asked my cousin, not long ago,how he maintained his faith. How had he not lost his belief in his higher being? He merely looked at me, and with the calmest of faces, said “Because God has good intentions for me, and I just can’t see them”.
Step 2 is about having this mindset. When we feel, at any dark point in our life, that our higher power has abandoned us, we must remember that we are wrong. We do not understand the world. We do not understand our impact on the greater good. But we DO know that we will feel best when we believe there is something truly bigger than us. That our lives have purpose. That WE have purpose.
Embodying the second step means not losing our faith, but hunkering down in it. Feeling it. Believing it. Knowing that something, somewhere, much bigger than ourselves is the greatest ally.