I am more than a little aware of the fact that I give a very upbeat impression of disability and I am not going to change that, sorry I can’t it’s just me. It isn’t just am image or a false persona by any stretch of the imagination, I was born with a glass half full nature, I was also born with a, listen to both sides of everything personality as well. I have always in life found it impossible to accept anything without first finding out for myself, the phrase “I am telling you it is right, so accept it”, the most ridicules thing for anyone to say or go along with. To me nothing in life is black or white there are shades not just in between but over and under them as well. This belief even at an early age got me into and out of trouble regularly and has lead me on many a path that were interesting and beneficial to my life.
Many people who have a chronic illness find comfort in religion, I myself have slipped in an out of belief from a child onward, having been brought up in a rather fire and brimstone version of the Church of Scotland I attended both church and Sunday School regularly, but at 15 I set out to find where I belonged and found not the answer I had expected. In 6 moths I went through my training to become a Catholic, attended some Buddhist gatherings in Aberdeen, listened to the teaching of an Indian Yogi, and read books on Islamic and Jewish teachings. I realise now, that I was a little young to have headed of on my quest, especially in the 70’s, when the teachings of ‘Peace’ where heavy in their impact on many generations, especially the teenagers. My conclusions at the time left me not as sure about the world but sure enough that I didn’t feel the need as I though everyone did then, to follow any religion at all. I learnt enough then to believe that there is a God and that every religion has it’s good and bad point. Through out my life, like many I am sure, I have flitted in and out the Christian faith, when my son Jeffery died, the church swept both me and my ex-husband up and supported us without asking. The forces padre’s always swing into action and we needed their support. Alone and many miles from our families, the Church we attended offered us support from every member of the congregation to their ministers, it is that experience that makes me fully understand why many disabled people find religion a comfort, as they offer so much that at times of crisis their network of organisations can be a great lifeline, but it was also a Padre’s actions that made me leave the Church and I haven’t been back.
So why am I telling you all this, well firstly as you should know by now, I don’t shy away from any subject, but I have found that there is an assumption that because I am a happy thoughtful person, that it has to be because I am a religious person. My religious beliefs have really not changed a great deal since I was 15. I am the person I am, because of my life and what I have seen and learned along the way, and from my love of history. I suppose, that I could say that I believe in history, the past has told me far more about life then anything else and like religion there is good and there is bad. I don’t draw my strength from anything greater than knowledge and knowledge to me is the greatest religion of all as includes all faiths, all theories, and all doctrines.
Whether you are a member of a religion or not is a personal choice, and if you have a mother like mine who is an Elder in the Church of Scotland it’s not an easy choice or peaceful choice to make, as still she thinks I should go to church. I do believe that to survive much of what is thrown at those who have poor health or disability, that you have to have a faith in something, if you want to believe in little green men arriving with a cure that is fine, or the mercy of Christ and God, or like me it is science, what ever it is faith is in a strange way what gives us hope, having hope is what makes anyone a happy, strong, giving person. If you have hope it is hard to be bitter, or angry, or depressed, or any of the other range of emotions that I have seen written down as so called ‘normal’ reactions. I have faith in science to control my pain, easy any of the symptoms and in one day finally finding the cure, even if it is too late for me, I still have hope because history has shown me we some how always get there.