I suppose Easter is possibly a contentious time for me to be writing about faith, but hopefully anyone reading this will understand that I certainly do not intend to offend. In the Christian calendar it is a time of hope and renewal, and although for me it’s mainly about the family time and the chocolate, it has got me thinking this year.
I’ve been an atheist for as long as I can remember. In a school RE lesson one time, another girl looked at me in bewilderment and asked, ‘How can you not believe?’ My bewilderment was just as strong; my immediate response being, ‘But how can you?’ And nothing in the interim has changed my mind on that one.
When Pudding’s paediatrician first mentioned the possibility of MPS, I of course went trawling through the internet for more information. The first words I found were ‘progressive’ and ‘life-limiting’, enough to send me reeling from the computer. When the diagnosis was confirmed I couldn’t stay away from the search engines; I was desperate for information, particularly information that could give me some hope, some belief that things couldn’t really be that bad. I came across blogs from the US, and Facebook groups talking about MPS children gaining their angel wings. I must admit I wanted to run a mile – their whole life experience was just so far removed from my own upbringing in a fairly secular society.
I can’t comprehend the thought of a god or gods that would condemn children to die of appalling diseases; to allow families and communities to suffer.
Time has moved on since those first horrible months, and I have become friends on Facebook with many who have different views to me. The lovely Geraldine Renton, for instance, has expressed her own beliefs beautifully, and while I cannot share these views I can understand them. And perhaps feel a little jealous that people have this strength to lean on.
So, when someone I barely know stopped me the other day to say, ‘You’re the lady who shaved your hair because of your son, aren’t you? I’ve been praying for you ever since.’ I didn’t brush it aside, as I would have been inclined to before. I smiled and said thank you. After all, what matters is that people care – why worry if they just express it in different ways?
As for me, I guess I do have some beliefs that I can lean on. I may not have faith in a god, but I do have faith in the good that human nature can do. I have faith in the wonderful doctors and nurses who work so hard to help us. I have faith in scientists working on the future of gene therapy and the like. I have faith that we will cope with this, whatever this is.