Reflections/poem biography for Losing Faith
losing faith version 2 smaller

“Give them a bigger tank to swim in:
a glassed reality of gravel and weeds.”

I was brought up with a relatively strong Christian background. We went to church every Sunday right through my teens, I was confirmed, in the choir and almost went to a church school.

When I got to university, I began to question how much of my faith was belief and how much was habit. After I got together with my later husband in the final year at university, I began to consider the possibilities of a pantheistic god. At first frightening, the thought of us all being part of one bigger whole soon began to feel more natural. But did I believe in such a god or just living as part of a community where we’re all connected in some way?

Buddhism also seemed to have many appealing qualities. But I was still aware that these might just be ways of trying to escape from reality and neatly explain the inexplicable.

When we had children, I wanted to give them some kind of spiritual background to start from, and, for a while, returning to church seemed the right thing to do.

These days, I don’t believe in any one particular faith. If I’m asked if I believe in God, I’ll also hesitate. I’d like there to be a god, but realise this may just be wishful thinking. One thing that doesn’t go when faith is lost, at least not for me, is the need for there to be meaning. Maybe this is the greatest thing that any faith does – give some kind of sense to life and death. Stronger than my belief in God is the belief that somehow everything must have a point or purpose. Is this because I once had faith and lost it? Is it part of what some may label the God gene? Or does it go deeper than that, does an essential part of being human include the need for meaning, hope and purpose? I don’t know. But I do think my depressions have been linked to this need. When you start to challenge a deeply held belief that this world has meaning with the possibility that life is just completely random and unfair, then I guess bleakness is not a particularly surprising response.

As I’ve got older, instead of fearing the unknownness of not having faith, I’ve tried to take comfort in it. The state of not knowing, or not being sure, is actually one where all things still remain possible.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

How effective is the goldfish analogy for making an abstract loss (faith) more tangible? Is this more or less effective than focussing instead on a more direct specific example of this loss?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Think of an abstract loss – faith, innocence, hope, love… Try to write about it in a way that makes the abstract notion more tangible, be it using an analogy or a specific example or examples that typify such a loss.  

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.