When God Isn’t In

I am fortunate enough to have a big circle of friends from lots of different backgrounds, with lots of different beliefs. I can’t think of a time where we’ve ever disagreed or come to logger heads over those beliefs, and that’s how it should be.

I happened to cross paths with a lovely gentleman called John about four years ago. I either made the acquaintance through my artwork or my blog. I don’t remember which. Aye I know, the memory isn’t any better! Anyhoo, John, he’d had a near death experience in 1996 which changed his outlook on life. He found comfort in knowing that there’s no pain at the end, and that you do go somewhere better, he’d seen it.

John then asked me if I’d experienced anything, you know, when I wasn’t here. I know I definitely felt fear when my heart started racing, I couldn’t breathe and my vision narrowed, no, not dramatically fading out like on some crappy soap opera, I mean as in no peripheral vision, and almost pixilated. I don’t know or remember seeing or feeling anything beyond that, nor do I remember seeing anything or anyone. Nowt! The only thing I can think of, is that God wasn’t in that day. He was probably hanging his washing out or walking the dog, he definitely wasn’t in, because as you know I’ve knocked on him a few times and he thankfully hasn’t answered. Now I come to think about it, he was probably hiding behind the sofa like I was the Provi man collecting on a payday loan. “Jesus Christ, I’m not letting her in, I’ve already got my hands full with her lot, I can’t deal with another one!”

One thing I do know is a young trainee RGN was stripping beds, he was in his early twenties, and he was humming Bring Me Sunshine. Those of a certain age will remember Morecambe and Wise singing it at the end of their show. I have very fond memories of that show, and that song ignites memories of three members of my family that are no longer here. I used to watch the show with my Nanna and Grandad. My late Uncle taught me Eric Morecambe’s paper bag trick after many years of keeping me in wonderment. If I’ve mentioned it before, you know the drill, keep reading, I’ll get to the point eventually. When he came over to check on me, I said in the best way I possibly could back then (remember I had very little speech) “I used to love watching that.” He said “watching what?” “Morecambe and Wise, you were humming the song they used to sing, Bring Me Sunshine.” He looked at me and said “I’ve never heard of it, I didn’t even know I was humming” So maybe that was my sign, if I was ever to have had one?

So no bright light and harps playing while St. Peter stands waiting for me, with a chorus of angels. Mind you, St. Peter better have a seat for when and if I make it up there, or his legs will be knacking. They’ll be a canny list! Don’t you guys be trying to fool yourself into thinking you won’t have a fair few pages to look back on, it just so happens that mine’ll be the size of the Lindisfarne Gospels and War and Peace combined!

So what does happen to us? No one can argue that the human body is an energy field. All matter and psychological processes such as thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes are made up of energy. Our bodies are also composed of atoms, molecules, cells, tissues and bodily systems, that again create or generate energy. And let’s just geek out a little further, and go all Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, or Big Bang Theory. The First Law of Thermodynamics is, Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another. Ahh! Ahh! See! Not bad for a blonde, eh?! Well, I’m more of a 7.3 L’Oreal natural dark blonde at the moment. I’m not best impressed by it, so it’ll be a 6.1 light ash brown by the time you guys read this.

Many moons ago, too many than I’d like to admit to, I answered the door to a guy from the Jehovah Witness Church. I remember he put his foot in the door like a debt collector. Yes I know I’ve made references to poor credit twice now, but I’ll have you know that Clear Score says I have a higher score than most people in my area! I’m a good girl me …. Ok, ok, you can all stop laughing now, I can behave sometimes, you know! Yeah so Mr JWC asked me if I belonged to any religion, I told him I was Christened Church of England. He said “well can you explain to me why your God created rapists, paedophiles and murderers? I bet you can’t answer that one!” So here comes the “Hold my beer” moment …. “Because God handed the earth to us, he didn’t create rapists, paedophiles or murderers, they’re manmade, we as human beings are responsible for that.” The foot moved, he looked at me nonchalantly “Can I leave this booklet with you?” And he was off. Now I wasn’t trying to tarnish his god, I was defending my right to believe in my god, as he put it, so I retorted his challenging and confrontational behaviour. Nor am I saying JWC followers are all like this bloke, because I know a few and they’re geet canny. I never saw him again, my house was probably put on the blacklist under Clever Shite!

I know folk who class themselves as spiritual. They believe in a higher being and often guardian angels. The embodiment of the elements that surround us, grounding oneself with Mother Nature. And like I referred to at the beginning, I know people who follow and believe in Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, as well as the Church of England, Community Churches and Methodist. There’ll be some friends I’ll have missed out, they can bollock me later!

I’m a huge believer in mindfulness, even before mindfulness was even a word and most certainly not on trend. In my day I just got called a tree hugging hippy. I’ve always walked barefoot, and would do so everywhere if it wasn’t for rubbish pavements. Crazy to think I was an absolute shoe addict. No seriously, I was the biggest contradiction. I had over eighty pairs of break your ankles shoes! Most have gone to charity or to friends, but I have kept some. They make canny decorations nowadays. My Mam was just saying this week that folk used to buy me slippers for Christmas, and they were all lined up in my room in pristine condition, because I’m nearly always barefoot. I love animals and nature, and being amongst it, cruel to think that my mobility is so very hindered, and my world so incredibly small. Once being hugely free spirited and serendipitous, to feeling pinned, trapped and bound overnight. I have to say, it does feel like the lowest blow of all at times. I’m sat here now with all the windows open, it’s a tropical 9° but I just can’t bear to be cooked up!

Do I believe in angels? Well I can tell you that in my minds eye I’ve put four angels in every room in my house, one in each corner, the strongest and tallest angels being in my bedroom. And I can guarantee you that my house is completely empty of negative energy. Though saying that, I’ve recently seem to have acquired a dog, no, not Dylan. I hear it when Dylan’s not here and forget myself and shout “What are you up to Dylan?!” Then I remember he’s not here, he’s at my Mams or out doing a reccy on the neighbours. It could be one of our old boys, Dale or Glen? And if so, I’m not sure why they’re suddenly around me or have made their presence known, maybe it’s a different dog? Who Knows! Where was I? Oh yeah, I have crystals everywhere, Himalayan salt lamps, and I have a Selenite lamp, I even have a Millennium Falcon and a Star Wars oil lamp just for good measure.

…. I’ve just checked my phone – it’s 11:11! I’m being honest and not making this shit up! I seek comfort in little signs like that, it makes me feel like I’m on the right track, confirmation and affirmation ….

I believe we are sent and receive signs at poignant times and moments in our lives. Feathers, butterflies, or like I’ve just exclaimed, repetitive numbers. Recently I’ve been glancing at the clock and noticing 12:12 15:15 etc so I started typing. I do feel I’m at a crossroads in my life, and I’ve been told I’m having a existential crisis. Not surprising really!

Do I send messages up above me to ask for protection, peace, serenity or to protect or help others? Absolutely, dozens and dozens a day! I fire them off like fireworks. I also believe that some people are earth angels, selfless, kind and poignant people. I do believe there’s a higher power or being. There’s something. I believe that there’s a path we follow in life, and if we find ourselves lost or strayed, we’ll somehow be put back on that path. I tend to think of it like those books you read as a kid, where you have to pick an option, and flick through to that page to find out your outcome. Do you die in battle and have to start right back at the beginning of the book, or do you bask in a victors light and finish your quest/book?! I feel this was very much the case with my accident. I won’t delve into that too much, but I was definitely lost on a path I shouldn’t have been on, with no idea how to find my way back, so the powers that be took it into their own hands. Do I feel punished? I can honestly say no.

So my point being. What if no matter how many religions there are in the world, no matter how many beliefs there is, what if we’re all praying, making a wish, asking for help to the same being? What if there really is only one higher power, one higher being, but we just call it a different name?  And what if we removed the word religion and replaced it with, a way of life, a coping mechanism, something comforting and a source of hope? A commitment to try harder, to learn to grow as a person. To be able to see where we’ve gone wrong, and put things in place to correct them. Helping those in times of need because you’re able to, not for glory or praise, just simply because you can. Is that not a religion or a faith? Does it make it less real if its given a certain name, or referred to as a religion? I don’t believe so. Reet, grab a dictionary, Christ I’m showing my age again. Ok, Google, whichever is at hand. Definition of being Religious – To relate to, or believe in something. DefinitIon of Religion – The belief in or worship of a superhuman power, especially a personal god or gods. Do you see what I’m getting at? Some people say they don’t believe in anything, ironically I don’t believe them. I bet they make a wish when they snap a chicken wish bone, make a wish when they blow their birthday candles out or hope their lottery numbers drop.

Recently, well, you know, within the last four years, I have been fortunate enough to have such wonderful people in my life. And some of those people have prayed for me, lit a candle for me, they’ve mentioned me in their prayer groups. Even Dylan was prayed for and was sent calming music in worship when he had his first hip replacement. And still to this day, no matter what my belief is or theirs, I still regard it as one of the most kindest things anyone can do.  To pray, wish or hope for you, whatever you want to call it, they’re thinking of you, they’re willing things to be better for you. Thoughtfulness is most certainly a precious gift.

Did Jesus exist? Well I think he probably did. I think he was a guy who was a huge humanitarian and empath who wanted to change peoples perceptions about one another, and life. For them to be able to relate to one another, to be able to put themselves in each other shoes, and treat those the way they’d like to be treated in return. As a kid, well, I still do, we always watched all the old biblical films. Moses and the Parting of the Red Sea, the Greatest Story Ever Told “Surely he is, the son of god” Gan on John Wayne! At Easter we used to be spoilt for choice. I always remember my Nanna saying to me. “They killed him because they were scared of him you know, that’s what frightened and ignorant people do when they’re losing control, turn people against you or get rid of you” And as always my Nanna was right.

I think Jesus promoted caring and kindness, yes I know, there’s that bloody word again! Honestly, you wouldn’t think it was a year ago! I think lockdown has made a whole new generation of keyboard warriors, selfish and self-centred arrogant twats! Bah, some folk haven’t half shown their true colours! Anyhoo, I digress …. Yes, I think he had a big desire to heal the sick and feed the poor as we’re told. In fact, I’m going to really put it out there, maybe what Jesus was trying to practice and teach those around him, was mindfulness and all of the things I’ve waffled on about above. Maybe he didn’t exist but the holy people collating the bible were selfless, caring, and charitable folk, and created a character people could relate to, not to deceive anyone but to use Jesus as a vessel or symbol to deliver important tools in life, and life lessons to learn from. I don’t know, I wasn’t there, even though most mornings I look old enough to have been! Did Jesus walk on water? I don’t know about that either, but I’d bloody love to know the trick he pulled to turn water into wine!

So what if hoping your car gets through it’s M.O.T is a little prayer to the Millennium Falcon, the car gods or Jesus himself?

What if Mother Nature, Buddha and Jesus are the same entity, but we all call them by a different name? What if the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything, really is 42?!

Who knows who or what’s up there!? After all, they say Heaven is only 3ft off the ground. What I am certain of, is that I don’t want to find out anytime soon, god can stay hidden behind his sofa!

No matter what our beliefs are, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings, and no matter what we do and don’t believe in, there’s only one race, the human race.

Try and be grateful for every day no matter what shit has been hurled at you. Try and make good choices, and try to choose one thing each day to be truly thankful and grateful for.

Like I keep saying to anyone that’ll listen, we all need hope right now, because without hope, we’ve got fuck all!

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