As a little girl, I wanted to be Mary - yes, that Mary, the mother of Jesus. I knew that she was good and kind, and I wanted to be *that* good. I felt my faith devoutly, and I wanted to be the best that I heard of Christ: infinitely kind and selfless. I grew up in a household where the word "christian" was used as an adjective to describe exellent attributes; if we heard of someone doing a good deed, my mother would say, "oh, he's a good christian man." I never really questioned it until I had a Jewish boyfriend, and my mother said, "He sounds like a good Christian man," and suddenly I realized that she really meant "he sounds like a person with good values" and she had it confused with theology. It opened a crack, and the crack became a chasm.
Having a baby brought some faith back into me. I felt the little person inside me moving, and knew that it was a holy thing, nothing short of a miracle. I looked into her eyes, and was certain of a presence larger than myself. I started to call myself an agnostic.
So, I continue to wrestle with my faith, but I find that I do have a kind of faith. My faith in the divine and my faith in myself are tangled up together; a messy grouping beyond unraveling. When I have a dark night, as I have lately, it feels that I am completely alone in the universe, and that there is no possibility of recovery, and that none of my dreams will come true. But then something lets the light in, and that something feels divine, and it whispers to me that I will be able to make my dreams come true, and I feel comfort.
I wrestle with my faith daily, as much as Jacob with his angel...and for longer than a night. It is wrestling with myself, and with the divine, all at once. It is wearing, and I am weary. I don't have a text to guide me the way Christians have The Bible or Muslims have the Qur'an. I do have their stories, though, and I also have Mark Nepo and The Dalai Lama and Rumi and Mary Oliver, and I have the seasons that freeze and thaw. I don't know what the result of my wrestling will be, but I continue to wrestle. And I continue to hold on to the brave hope, faith, that somehow this is all going to work out.