A bit of faith

I so very badly want to believe in God. When I was younger, I tried so hard every day to have faith. Even though not a lot of it made sense to me, I went through the motions hoping that one day, something would click. I'd have that moment of understanding or calm that I heard people saying religion brought them.

It's strange when I think of my relationship with religion. I remember being frustrated and scared as a kid, praying every night and getting what I considered crickets in response. There are a few nights in particular that I remember small Erica, maybe six or seven, kneeling next to her little twin mattress with her fingers all tangled together, looking out the window at the dark woods and the stars above and just crying because I thought I was doing it wrong. Maybe I was asking in the wrong way, or asking too much, but I couldn't figure out why when I prayed for things to get better, they didn't.

After a while, I figured God was too busy so I moved on and started praying to relatives. My grandfather on my father's side died decades before I was born (and just months before my father was born), but I thought he would have a pretty big stake in how my life turned out -- and I believed through every story I knew of him that he was a good, brave person. I had hoped he would be able to help me. So I prayed to a man I did not really know, hoping he knew me well enough to... I don't know what I wanted exactly. Love, I suppose. Protection or understanding.

At the time, I figured I had hit another dead end. That maybe praying was a waste of my time, so I fell out of it. I fell out of religion. I hadn't had a good run of it when I was in Catholic school, or religious ed after that.

Creeds and psalms didn't matter. Organized religion frustrated me, and many people I knew wielded their texts in ways I found despicable. So I became a more casual observer of faith. Rather be a good person who does their best to love than someone who attends church every Sunday.

About a year or so ago, things changed. Gradually, I fell back toward God. I found myself whispering prayers to myself before falling asleep every now and then, I began remembering the good things religion gave me. I went to a volunteer project with Peter's church (Appalachian Service Project) where I found something close to the silence and calm I'd always wanted to experience and never thought I'd get to.

I started to think that maybe I wasn't getting crickets all those years after all -- I was given something better than a solution to my problems: I was taught strength and courage and how to love in the darkest of circumstances.

Tonight, I'm getting a new tattoo on my right wrist. It's one of the only Bible verses I've held in my heart all these years, no matter how far I've walked away from the church. Ironically, the verse is 1 Peter 4:8. (Peter's birthday is the 8th of April and this dual meaning of the verse has been spinning me for a while now.)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
There are days when I look around at all the love I am surrounded by and find it hard to consider it anything but a miracle. I may not still be exactly where I want to be with my relationship with religion, and it still makes me uncomfortable at times to talk about God, but things are growing. I have a little bit of faith opening me up.

Latest Instagrams

© Erica Crouch. Design by Fearne.