I was brought up in a Catholic church and attended a Catholic grade school. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, sin, confession was part of my early teachings. As I grew into my teens, I began rebelling the church. I don’t recall why I just remember making excuses to not go to church on Sundays.
Through my high school years I occasionally would attend a church at the invitation of an acquaintance or friend. It was usually a Catholic church.
After graduating from high school, I joined the Air Force and my spare time was now directed to sports and fitness. I did not attend any church during those years.
When I got out of the service, I returned to El Paso to attend college. A couple of months later, my best friend Raul lost his life while we were climbing some mountains. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. It was July 4, 1979. We drove to the Oregon Mountains in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After lounging around for a couple of hours I told Raul to let’s go for a hike. We started hiking on the trails and soon came to the end of one trail. At my suggestion we started climbing up some cliffs. We found it easy to climb and kept going higher and higher. After a couple of hours we decided it was time to start heading down. This is when we realized we could not find a way down from the cliffs we had climbed. We tried to find a way down but everywhere we looked there were steep cliffs. We had no ropes and were unprepared for those steep cliffs.
Finally Raul, my best friend, was trying to jump down to a ledge to see if he could climb down from there. His last words were, “pray for me” as he jumped onto the ledge which was maybe six feet below him. I never heard a scream or anything other than three thumps. He had hit the ledge and bounced right off and fell about a thousand feet to his death. I crawled out to the ledge where he had made his way into a crevice to jump from and I could see his body at the bottom of the cliff. I was terrified and not ready to die. I cried out to God and begged him to not let me die. It was a terrible tragic accident and one that left me with many questions about death, dying and God.
I started attending church again in my search for answers to so many questions I had again. Why did he die and not me? I felt guilty for his death. I struggled with those feelings for about a year. Attending church was not enough. I still had a lot of questions unanswered. Life went on.
By the time I was accepted to Chiropractic school I was thirty years old and living in Dallas, Texas. Who am I? What is my purpose on earth? Who is God? Is there a God? Is the bible for real? I continued to have questions about life and religion. I met a young woman who was Mormon . In my search for God I attended her church and learn about her religion. About half a year later, I met a young man at a local gym and he invited me to his church. He was Baptist and I attended his church and a bible study he held every Wednesday evening at his apartment.
It was interesting to contrast what I had learned in my childhood and grade school years with what I had learned about the Mormon and Baptist religions.
My search for answers is far from over. I have come to know God in a very different way.
Since then I have had many conversations with God. I have attended many different churches and bible studies. I know there is a God. He has comforted me and given me strength when I was so depressed and did not want to live anymore. I continue to search and walk in God’s grace, love and mercy. I share my stories with my patients to give them hope. Too many people have lost their faith and hope because of bad circumstances and blame God.
How about you? What have been your experiences with God? Religion? Spirituality? I would love to hear your stories. I know there are many others who would also love to read your experiences and stories. Won’t you please take some time now and share?