I am not, in the traditional sense, a religious person. I do not believe in God. I do not believe in gods and goddesses. I do not believe in spirits and shades, or an over-arching Gaia. I believe in people. I believe in their right to their beliefs, to their faith. But only if they respect the rights and beliefs of others.
But it doesn't mean I can't understand the beauty that can be brought about by faith. For all the atrocities, hatreds, deaths and debacles brought about by faith, it brings other more benign, beautiful things too. Acts of courage. Acts of faith and fealty. Acts of principle and kindness. Small acts. Great acts. Sacrifices minor and total. Sometimes it just brings lovely things, a smile, a gesture, laughter, the extension of what is good about people into the open.
I miss the surety of faith. I miss the boundaries, the expectations, the understanding it brings. I miss the lines drawn and the principles made. I miss them, because they simple things, although incredibly hard to live up to.
But it wasn't for me. Mine is a more malleable world. Less defined, less black and white, mostly shades of grey. People can be defined and contained by their faith, limited by its strictures and structures. That isn't for me. I miss the surety, but it is not me. I miss the purity of it, but it is not for me. I cannot live up to such ideals, so I must live up to those I can. My faith was ever lacking, because faith is total, and to believe totally, for me, is a terrible, total thing. It is all encompassing, a singularity of purpose and definition. And I am a fractured thing.
It is not for me.
But it does not mean I cannot appreciate the things it brings. Sometimes appreciation is all you need. Sometimes faith is a vehicle for what lies in all of us. Sometimes it is a word, a touch on the shoulder, a kindness and a comfort. Sometimes it is a song.