Today, an excerpt from my book “Happiness is the Truth: A Spiritual Manifesto.”
While I was still a Christian, my goal in life—the thing I aspired to more than anything else—was to change. I didn’t think I’d ever be perfect, of course—according to my faith, that wasn’t even possible. But I did hope to one day get as close as anyone could, which is why, during this time, I read a book about a Catholic priest named Brother Andrew who attempted to do what the scriptures implored: to “pray without ceasing.” The book chronicled his happy experience, and as I read it, I decided that one day (not right then, but one day), I would do the same.
Years passed. I lost my faith (and not only due to watching too much television). By the time that Jane—who my husband David and I and her other good friends called and still call Baby Jane—left us so unexpectedly, it had been about two years since I’d given a great deal of thought to religion. I still believed in God, and I still believed in heaven (so to speak), and I still believed in things I couldn’t see.
But I wasn’t much sure about anything else.
Like what it meant to me.
Something interesting happened after she left, though: I started looking into spiritual things again.
It was time, I decided. It was time.
It was maybe even the reason she was here.
And here’s the amazing part: After I decided to become spiritual again, even though my beliefs were considerably different from the beliefs I used to have, all of it—all of what I learned as a Christian about praying, and believing, and having purpose—came right back.
I remembered that book about Brother Andrew that I’d loved so much, and I read it again.
And it was even better the second time.
As I read it, I decided again that one day, I would do what Brother Andrew did. I would pray without ceasing.
Of course, I haven’t started yet. (I haven’t “had the time,” as they say.) Someday, though, I will, and I will write to you about it, just as he did, dear reader.
Until then, though, let me just take what meaning I can from all this and say that believing in Jesus as my savior was not a bad thing. It wasn’t a waste of time. All those years I spent praying and reading the bible and going to church was the best thing I could have done.
It taught me how to love, and how to give, and how, of course, to pray.
It taught me how to believe.
It taught me how to be spiritual.
It taught me how to do all of the things that I want to do now a lot more.
It got me ready.
Thank you, mom, and thank you, dad, forever.