Twenty-five years ago my one time vegan-eating, acid-taking younger brother became a born again Christian, with all the scary over zealousness that the newly converted bring to the party. For years he tried to convert us – there were big arguments over family teas and Xmases – we were having none of it. But over the years I began to notice a change in him and his life, I remember during one of our, by then infrequent discussions, he reminded me that it says in the Bible, “ask and it shall be given to you”, ask for help and it you will be given it. It was a bit of a seminal moment. Quietly, telling no one, I began to try it out for myself. That was 15 years ago. Privately and secretly, God and my nondenominational faith have become an integral part of my life. As an adolescent, whose common sense had told me quite categorically that religion (school, family or otherwise) and life after death were obviously just in place to make us all feel better while we’re here, it came as a huge shock. But I have learnt with amazement and disbelief, as my brother told me so many years ago, that prayers are answered, that somehow if you ask for help it is given to you. My rational self still does not understand at all. My brain can still argue and question what my spirit and soul have found to be true. I can only, with the upmost humility, acknowledge and pass on this truth that I have found. Up until now I have only ever mentioned this to certain close friends who might have been in the middle of difficult times and the analogy I have always thought of is this. There is a coat in the corner of the room – it does not have your name on it, it belongs to anyone or no-one. Call it God, call it faith; one day if you’re cold or if you need help you might try it on. There is no price tag, no obligation to buy; but if, as happened to me, it seems by some miracle to fit you, in spite of all your preconceptions and prejudices, feel lucky and one day as my brother did for me, tell a friend about the possibility.
As a child I was frightened of everything. The lift I was in would always stop, so I walked up countless flights of stairs. The house I slept in would be struck by lightening, so thunderstorms would have me wide-awake and terrified in the middle of the night. A natural born worrier. But over the years I’ve found the confidence to let go. What I’ve learnt is that worrying doesn’t help anything at all. It’s a totally negative place, which undermines our energy and limits our possibilities. If something is bad, you’re going to find out soon enough and will have to deal with it, as well as you can at that moment. If it doesn’t happen, as often things don’t, then you have saved yourself the bother. Now I believe that many things happen for a reason and with a wing, a prayer and a lot of positive thinking, I’m learning to go with the flow.
Text and Photography Tricia Jones