I used to call myself spiritual. I wasn’t really. It was simply better than believing I didn’t have anything concrete to believe in. Unlike my maternal grandmother, who found God, thanked him daily (I’ll stick with him purely for simplicity), and lived to the ripe old age of 103 despite having had the odds stacked highly against her at times, I had no faith to speak of.
I was raised by a Jewish father and a Christian step-mother.
My Jewish birth mother passed away when I was three. Neither of the parents who raised me was religious. While I can’t be sure, I always assumed it was my lack of any religious upbringing that resulted in me having nowhere concrete to invest my faith.
I’m not blaming my parents, of course. There are lots of kids with non-religious parents who have found God by seeking out faith on their own terms. I just never felt compelled to look for it. This probably had a lot to do with my having concluded as a young teen that if my mom could die at the age of 29, God couldn’t possibly exist. So why waste time searching?
Religion wasn’t for me. Still, I often envied those who had found God.
How comforting it must be to trust that there is someone always watching out for you. That bit I liked. I clearly understood the appeal.
What I couldn’t wrap my head around, though, was how believers could retain their faith when it seemed so obvious that God had turned his back, as he had so clearly done when I was three.
Flash forward to my forties.
The man who swore he loved me left me. We’d been married for nine years and had a seven-year-old daughter at the time. It wasn’t an easy marriage, but we were committed to one another and I was deeply committed to keeping our family of three intact.
At those times when our relationship was less than stellar, I was the one who raised my hand and said let’s get help. He always complied willingly. It was comforting. It allowed me to believe that I had control over our marriage. If it was turning sour, I had the power to turn it around. Until I didn’t.
He met someone else and that was that. I was suddenly powerless and I had two options. I could a) cry about my failed marriage and crumble, or b) cry about my failed marriage and trust that everything would eventually be alright. I did the latter.
Although I didn’t realize it then, I am now certain that it was during this difficult time that I found God. My God.
It happened slowly. And subtly.
I began to trust the Universe.
I had no choice. I surrendered to that elusive thing that was greater than me and I began to take life day by day — a big accomplishment for a planner like me.
I trusted that the financial strain resulting from me having bought out his share of our house would eventually subside. The Universe would make it so and it did.
I trusted that I’d rise to the challenge of being a (near) single parent. The Universe would help me and I rose.
I trusted that I’d find love again, and when I found myself embarking on a long-distance relationship, I trusted the Universe to decide if we were meant to be. We were and we still are. Thank you, Universe.
Oddly enough, I never once thought about blaming the Universe for failing me. I trusted that the Universe had a bigger plan, just as others trust God in times of crisis, contrary to what I had been able to do when I thought about my mother’s untimely death.
That’s when the thought occurred to me. I wasn’t that different from my grandmother after all.
We both believed in a higher power.
She had found God. I had found the Universe.
It is not the name of the entity we look to that matters, but rather, the light, guidance, and comfort it brings. The Universe brings me that light, guidance, and comfort. I believe, like never before, that wherever life takes me, I will be just fine — because everything I need resides within me.
Of course, I don’t know this as a fact. How could I? I don’t yet know what life will throw at me so how can I be so sure that I am equipped? Faith is the only explanation I can come up with.
I have found God.
My God isn’t the same as my grandmother’s. It doesn’t have a gender. There is no single place I can go to worship it. The Universe is my God. It is around me and in me and I trust it to show me the way.
The Universe is my teacher and my divine source for all things love. I’ll say it again:
The Universe is my teacher and my divine source for all things love.
I never imagined that I might one day write these words. I never imagined I’d ever be here. But I am. And I have to say, I like it.
Viv for today xo
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