My second blog for Eastertide with great love…..so are you really really reeeeeeligious then?

If you like Christmas time and Easter eggs then you’ll be comfortable with my books. Let’s be realistic ~ Christian festivals are pretty fabulous. They are at heart about giving and grace which we all need and appreciate. My books are not very very religious, but I hope, they are very very loving. My intention is always to be warm, welcoming and inclusive.

Lots of people ask me how and why I got to this position. They ask what I believe and why. I ask those things too. Having spent a huge amount of my childhood with my Granny who was a medical missionary to China almost a hundred years ago, you might assume that I had been steeped in religion. The examples all around me were of generous, thinking and diligent people. There was as much debate in our home as there was prayer. Education, science and reason sat alongside Church life beautifully. Then an onslaught on illness hit us and we learned what it was to struggle on a daily and decade basis. Therefore, if there were anyone on the planet who had enough reasons not to believe then I think I might just qualify. The amount of challenge we have endured in terms of illness hitting the Williams Family has been immense. Lots of people have asked me how can I believe when bad things happen to good people. But the question presupposes that if bad things happen that that is the evidence that Jesus didn’t live and God does not exist. If we behave well in life then we ought not to have a bit of bother because we are righteous and good and worthy. We might well be all those things and then unexpected trouble lands on our laps. Whatever that trouble, it makes life very demanding, sad and unjust. For some of us it feels like we have had more than our fair share whilst we watch the rest of the world cruise on by without them giving even a wave to the poor souls drowning in their wake. However, there are countless people choosing to be in the wake, to help us at our times of need. Just think about every kind teacher, humble healthcare professional, wise charity worker and loyal friend who has been bothered about us. They understand that when we are in the wake, we are living at our bravest. It’s not glamorous, popular or comfortable but it is raw and real life. These times allow us to understand the great wealth of normal days, the beauty of good health, reliable loving relationships and not to stress about stupid stuff. At our best, we can try to find the lessons from it and then count our blessings. When there feels like there is little hope can we just endure for a bit longer and get through the hardest hours? It is then that we are not just living bravely, we are living heroically. Sometimes it is not what we believe that is important, it is those who believe in us that stops us from drowning.

But then there is that inconvenient thing, I like Jesus. That has neither diminished with time nor with trouble. It has grown because however battered we have been, I still find myself inspired by His courage. Naturally, I like the miracles, the logic, the wisdom and the love but ultimately the thing that draws me back during and after every challenge is that He kept going. His life was full of adversity and yet…he kept hopeful, kept loving, kept faithful. That is the example which I dare to follow.

I could tell you a hundred tales about people telling me that they have fallen out with formal religion but hold onto some kind of faith. I could tell you that almost every home I have visited had some form of spiritual symbol in it, whether that be a Buddha, an angel, a poem, a quote or an icon of some thoughtful kind. We may think that we don’t have any kind of religion in our lives but somehow some elements of faith emerge that are grounded in love, unity and hope. We all need those values and to treasure the joy they generate. As a society we need ritual, symbolism and spirituality. We need to come together to remember what is good and all that we can become. I have more questions than answers after being to all kinds of churches, faiths and meditations but in the end I keep returning to the trust that Christmas and Easter are wondrous.

Go well. Be well. Love well.

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