I caught up with a friend who came back for holiday from her medical school in UK. Since my cancer diagnosis, she has been very supportive as a high school friend who is now very equipped with medical knowledge to help me in times of needs.
She told me about her medical incidences when she was alone in UK and how her new religion helped her to miraculously heal her in two instances. This made me think about religion and what it means to me.
When I first told my ex-boss about my cancer diagnosis (on the day of diagnosis), she said that in times like this, people normally seek support from religion. And she asked me what do I believe in and what will I do? I told her, I believe in my dad whom I believe has always been watching over me from high above for the past 20 years.
I’m not sure what religion really means in my family. I wouldn’t say that my family is religious because my mom sees it as a cultural practice and my siblings and I have been brought up observing this from my mom. I believe that my mom chooses not to be religious because religion overwhelmed her during my dad’s sickness and religion did not really help her cope with the crisis.
Since my diagnosis, various people from different religions have reached out to me to offer prayers and invited me to join them religiously. I always accept their prayers because I see it as their way of blessing me and I’m sure it comforts them as much as it makes me feel blessed and thankful too. But so far, I’ve never opened the door to join them religiously because I don’t feel that I’m ready and I don’t want to expose myself to making another important life choice on top of the overwhelming list that already came with my diagnosis.
Up till today, religion feels like a way of life for me. I believe there’s a greater force and various religions are just different interpretation of this greater force. I respect all religions because they all mean well; they provides comfort and support to people spiritually and emotionally — it’s like a community support group. Different religion means different ways of honoring that greater force and so until I decide which way of life is most convenient for me, I’d stick to being a Buddhist-at-birth who is pretty much practising more Taoism due to cultural practice.
And yes, I used the word “convenience” on religion because I see it as a way of life that will need to be in sync with my family; the family I’m born into and the family that I will build one day. I don’t want religion to make going to my dad’s cemetery an inconvenience or a taboo. I don’t want religion to be a deterrent in my marriage life.
Unless I suddenly get a super strong calling, expect me to continue to believe in my dad and a vague greater force at least until I start my own family.
I wonder if my thoughts on religion is weird… I guess my upbringing influenced my view on religion this way.
On a final note, do I believe religion healed my friend? Why not? I believe that healing comes in many forms; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Religion probably helped her cope mentally, emotionally and spiritually and eventually made her physical recovery miraculous.