Last Friday, a male colleague finding that we were alone at our desks asked me about my faith in God.
His question surprised me, because although it is widely known that I am a practising Roman Catholic, I rarely discuss my faith at work.
He said to me, “Did you never have any doubts about the existence of God?”
In response, I told him about a row I had with my mother in 1978 when I was 14 years old.
In the argumentative exchange between us, I told my mother that I would not be going to Mass tomorrow – the ultimate and most daring rebuke to her imaginable – or so I thought.
The following day, being Sunday, I remember walking past a launderette on the way to Mass and suddenly remembering that I was supposed to be boycotting Mass.
I stood in the street for a few moments and I recall thinking, you’re not going to Mass for her (I wasn’t very nice in those days!) I was going for myself.
I told him of a second particular moment when, aged about forty in 2004, I drove to Mass and as I pulled up, I had this very strong feeling of faith.
I recall sitting outside my place of worship that I have attended all my life, and saying aloud in the car to myself “this is it, there is no need to struggle in matters of faith, I am a believer.”
In recent years I have had to come to terms with my gay sexuality – this I did not disclose to my colleague – but I have to my wife and to you, my dear readers of this blog.
There was a time during my journey to fully know and accept and love self when I wanted to keep God out of it.
I didn’t lose faith, but I loosened its hold on me.
I needed to explore intimately the person who is me, and to do that I needed space.
I have come to realise that when I suffer, it is often because my mind is closed in.
My anguish and isolation and fear is manifest in my emotional state because my focus is too narrow, and that to liberate myself from those feelings I need to think expansively.
I think that my belief in God is a sign of infinity – my infinite faith.
I told my colleague, I could flip a coin tomorrow and say “there is no God” but I choose to live in a state of mind big enough to include my infinite faith.
I think this approach, which is underpinned by my deep love for Jesus Christ and my firm belief in His Divinity, His Passion and His Resurrection, is a way of being in the world bodily, emotionally, intelligently and spirituality, and is a sign for me, of the greatest possible expansiveness that I can bring to my truth.
My next blog will be: Letter to My Dad