For those of you who don’t know, I just recently graduated high school, and will be heading off to Wagner College next year. So this past fall I thought I’d sign up to do a testimony before I leave, thinking that by June I might have some more answers. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Some of you may remember my confirmation speech I gave in 8th grade. I haven’t made much progress since then. But in my defense, my frontal lobe still has some major developing to do.
This year has proven particularly difficult in terms of finding God, as it has probably been my hardest year yet. I faced a large volume of rejection from colleges, missed a great deal of school to audition at said colleges, struggled to find time to balance my rigorous courses with my multitude of extracurriculars, and supported my mom through a second surgery. With all that happened this year, I found myself praying more, and questioning more when the things I prayed for didn’t happen. This year put a great strain on my spirituality, and as I emerge from this school year I now finally have time to reflect on what I believe and on what I may still have some lingering questions. The list of questions is significantly longer than the list of answers.
Rejection and surgery aside, most of my friends identify as atheists, which of course also leads me to question my faith. Whenever they question religion and those who worship, I find it can be hard to defend the church since I too wonder about such things. However, I also feel as if I should, seeing as I am the token friend who attends church. I found myself in such a situation recently, and amidst flying critiques from my friends I remembered the time when I spoke after confirmation in 8th grade. Basically I said that I didn’t know what I believed, and after I had finished everyone cheered and applauded my honesty and maturity. When I told my friends that they all appeared shocked at the support this faith community gave me for being unsure. I still use that story to this day when my atheistic friends ask why I attend church.
As of right now, I have one all-encompassing, foundational belief about my faith and faith in general: faith is a journey. This testimony does not mark the end of my faith journey by any means. I see it as a checkpoint; a time in my life where I am forced to explore and ultimately articulate what I do and don’t believe. I use the word “forced” here not because Hannah cornered me and told me I HAD to do a testimonial, but because evaluating one’s faith, especially at such a transformational point in life, can be extremely difficult. And though I don’t expect to have all the answers by tomorrow, I hope that with the continuing love and support of this and the following faith communities I am a part of I will continue this journey with an open mind and heart, no matter how hard it gets.