Faith in my Family | Teen Ink

Faith in my Family

May 28, 2008
By Anonymous

As I balance myself on the hill, I look out onto the National Geographic-worthy vision before me. A brilliant array of trees sways in the sharp autumn wind, reflected upon the vast, still lake, that makes you blink as if it’s only a pigment of your imagination. A patchwork quilt forest of reds, greens, oranges, and browns seem to envelop the surrounding peaks. This is Blue Mountain, a scenic campsite made specifically for Methodist organizations, and a deemed sacred annual retreat for the congregation at my family’s church. As I breathe out a sigh of utter tranquility, I suddenly ask myself, “Do I even deserve to be in such a breathtaking place?”

I’m usually rational thinker, or a person who has to see it to believe it. And although I’ve been raised a Methodist, I often question my faith in God. Being a Methodist is quite different than the stricter religion of Catholicism. From the free-to-do-whatever environment to mortal sins NOT being at the top of our agendas, my religion experience has been somewhat rewarding. However, even with the comfortable atmosphere, I began to think it bizarre that the Church gave so much credit to one face for all that’s good on the earth. It just couldn’t be possible. I instead believed that merely human strength and perseverance can make many remarkable accomplishments. Sometimes I wondered if it’s the presence of human spirit that is the true source of power. Other times I’m perplexed at things that have happened to me, convinced that some thing made such coincidences or life-changing events occur. Consequently, I have been confused on what precisely I have faith in.

Therefore, as I stood on the hill overlooking the breath-taking view, I truly began to desire something I could see and say to myself, “I will always have confidence and trust in this.” No more what-ifs or maybes. I wanted to know there was actually something there for me. I pondered for quite some time, not coming to any conclusion.
Around noon my group went on the hike to the Chapel in the Pines. If anything was the epitome of tranquil, this almost-surreal place would be it. In the midst of a gangly pine tree forest, letting patches of warm sunlight stream through the branches, a row of neatly placed benches surround a large wooden cross. As simple as it might sound, it gave me a sense of peace I’ve never had before. But something was different this time that I didn’t quite understand. During the prayer moment when even the silence seems to have a sound, there was a certain presence around me that made my hair stand on my arms. I looked around at the bowed heads. Being with these people all of my life, it was like having 30 moms, dads, brothers, and sisters, so I guess you could call them my “church family.” I wondered how different my life would’ve been if I had never had them, and surprised myself as I conjured up all the elements in my life that they’ve influenced. Their intense dedication to improving the church and growing the congregation has directly impacted my actions of dedication in other aspects of my life, like improving my grades, or making good decisions. Their care for people who are less fortunate has given me more compassion and understanding not just for the needy, but from my Dad to people I don’t agree with. I saw that obtaining and growing these traits will benefit me for the rest of my life, and I owe it all to them. I smiled to myself and prayed to whatever is out there that I would always have the security of a loving church family.
Later that evening was our campfire night. With the improvisational skits, s’mores, and guitar-playing, this is one of the highlights of the retreat. After a couple of hours, the excitement trickled down to a calm quiet of everyone staring at the lively fire. It was then when I realized what I can always have my faith in. In fact, it was something I had all along: my church family. My questioning and contemplating on what to believe in had skewed the internal vision that my church family was indeed, the most powerful source of human spirit I had ever encountered. The presence of unconditional love and thorough support was truly all I needed.
It’s possible I may never have a complete belief in God. It’s also possible that I realize what my church family does is exactly what God intends for us humans to do: love each other without question. Whatever the outcome of my beliefs, I do know that I can always have faith that my church family, and perhaps that’s all someone really needs.

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