My Testimony For....

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Be warned, gentle reader, the following is an experience I had when I demanded God prove His existence, to me. Yes there will be a combination of rational arguments and metaphysical inquiry.


I must give a brief background of my life. I was raised Irish Catholic and our faith defined who and what we were. My story starts at a very early age, I believe I was just 6 yrs old, maybe a little more, it was just before I took my 1st Communion. I recall having conversations with God, I never saw Him, but felt His presence and love. The conversations were always one-sided, I did all the talking. My days of innocence were numbered. I was informed by our Clergy that I was not one with God until I “received Jesus” through the sacrament of communion. My understanding of my relationship with Him was put to the test. First I had to “confess” my sins. What sins, I thought to myself? Teasing my siblings? Not doing what my parents commanded, immediately? What was I to do? I'd surely fail, I couldn't think of any sins I committed. Needless to say, I stood before the confessional door, opened it and walked through, knelt down and so the story began.


Through the years of my Catholic and then public education, I still had those conversations with God. Some days I'd feel His presence and love, other days, nothing. I tried to do what I was told was “right”. I went to church once a week, during Lent I went every day. I made a place for God in my life, everyday. Everything I did I thought through, a thousand different ways. I must make “the right choice”, always. Many times I did nothing because I was afraid God wouldn't approve. When I did chose, many times I failed and failed miserably.


The turning point was College. I went to a private Jesuit College here in Buffalo, NY. My freshman adviser was Father Courneen. He was a gentle and kind man. He was a realist, he knew how the world worked and told you the pitfalls. He told me all the things I needed to do to get my degree and over the next couple of years he became my spiritual adviser. I'd ask him question after question. I followed his instructions for quite a while. When he told me he was giving a class, “Introduction to the Old Testament”, I couldn't wait to learn more. He said many of my questions we could discuss in class.


During that class he made us read the entire Bible. The one that my Catholic faith was based on? The one “written by God”. The one that was read to us at Mass. It was during this class my faith was shattered. YES shattered. I came to understand that “book” as the teachings of man. Man and his “community” decided what was “gospel” and what wasn't. I recall he said there were 5 criteria that made something “the word of God”. I was lost. My conclusion: “The bible was written by man, for man to control and enslave him.” Nothing more or less. I recall asking Father Courneen, “How can you have faith knowing these things?

His reply, “We have a reasoned faith.”


My personal faith was based on the writings AND opinions of man, not God. Things I never dare question. Therefore God was an illusion. A creation man came up with to appease his absolute loneliness in this vast empty universe. Thank You, Father Courneen, the bastard!


What was I to do? Life was meaningless. So I partied like it was 1999 and I did so for over 5 yrs. During that time I did so many things. It didn't matter what I did, God didn't exist, He was an illusion and there was nothing more than this pitiful existence I came to despise. I broke every vow I had made, the body wasn't the temple of God, it was just this thing that brought me pain and misery.


The solution, end it. What's the point if we are all to become a worm feast anyways!? “From dust you came, so dust you shall return.” In some twisted way, I was fulfilling my duty, to die.


So, on that fateful day, March 22nd, 1989, I decided I would die, at my own hands...


I had become that which I had renounced, for so very long, evil. I decided that my suicide had to look like an accident, my friends & family must never know the truth! The shame it would bring upon them I could not bear.


I thought about it and decided that I'd give God one more chance to prove Himself to me. This was it, do or die. All my questions, all my anger, all my pain would finally end. “What a relief”, I thought.


So, I went through the phone book, I wasn't native to Buffalo, NY and I didn't know where the Catholic Churches were save, Christ the King Chapel, at college. I looked it up and called the rectory, no mass until Sunday. For whatever reason, I believed I must take the sacrament one last time before I died. I was on a quest. I called church after church, no mass, no mass then I called St. Michael's Church, on Washington Street, in downtown Buffalo. They were giving a “farmer's mass” at 5:15 pm, that afternoon, perfect! I asked them how to get there and where exactly were they located and the lady on the phone told me. I knew where to go now!


My plan was coming together! Now I had to think about “my accident”. What was I to do to ensure no one knew? I waited the hour or so and made my way downtown to St. Michael's, pondering that question. I was just in time, the mass had just began. I quietly walked in, blessed myself, thinking, “This will be the last time for these shenanigans!”


I sat in almost the last pew and just sat there. “Okay GOD, if you exist, you have this last opportunity to prove it!”


Nothing happened and my thoughts went back to “my accident”. I was reviewing the Stations of the Cross and then I heard this whisper from behind me, “Gerri look at the alter.” I quickly turned around and there was no one there. “How odd”, I thought. I continued working out the details of my death. I knew of this “Y” on the 198 West where a couple people had died because they were going too fast and couldn't control their car, PERFECT, I thought. Then that voice behind me said very loudly, “GERRI, LOOK AT THE ALTER!” I was startled and turned around again, surely everyone in the place heard this, yet there was no one there.


I turned back around, begrudgingly looking at the alter and thought, “Okay, now what?” Nothing. I listened to the homily, the priest was talking about the black sheep returning to the fold. I laughed, looked up at the ceiling and said, “GOD, if that's your proof, you've got nothing!”


And as I was bringing my head down, I heard this: “LISTEN TO THE VOICE!” “What? The voice?”, I questioned. It was at that moment I knew that voice giving mass BUT IT COULDN'T be... No, it just couldn't was Father Courneen. That disembodied voice said one final thing, “Gerri, you're back where you started!”


I began to cry. No one knew what I held in my heart! “IF I only hadn't taken that damn class!” The man I blamed for so long, for so many things! He was now the one giving Mass, in a Church I'd never been to on the day I demanded God prove his existence and he spoke of the black sheep returning to the fold.


It was, a miracle. No one could have done this except God. I went to the deacon after mass and asked to speak to Father Courneen and he said he had to run out, it was his last day of his two week Sabbatical and he was going to get a plane to Chicago, he was transferred there.


To this day, I'm still trying to figure out the part of, “you're back where you started” and what it means. When I read of the corruption, lies and denial my Church has engaged in for decades and centuries past. What was I being told? What was I being shown?


Maybe that God exists within all of us, from the start. And despite the sins we commit, God's proverbial door, is always open. The Church doesn't represent God but we do, he built our temple, after all.


It's our choice how we're gonna use it.



Autumn Cote Added May 22, 2018 - 11:24am
Please note, it's against the rules to post articles to Writer Beat unless you comment on the work of others.  
James Travil Added May 22, 2018 - 8:10pm
It's an interesting story. I suppose everyone's story is different. In my case I was raised Christian Baptist. I even attended a Baptist high school. Read and studied the Bible and came to the same conclusion as you about it. I tried mysticism for a while but to no avail. There was no voice, no magic, no supernatural anything. I even had a near death experience (total blackness). So I came to the conclusion that this life was all there is and the best plan (for me) was to live life to the fullest. 
wsucram15 Added May 22, 2018 - 8:35pm
I too was raised Catholic. I had a different experience with the members of the church and questioned religion.
Its not about the building...or the religion. It is about you, always was, always will be.   I imagine you came back to where you started so you could return to the path you were supposed to be on.   You had something to learn.
Jesus wasnt a catholic or even christian but thats irrelevant. Its about relationship and how you feel inside. If you have a relationship with God, then the door is open.
Doug Plumb Added May 22, 2018 - 8:48pm
I think you are talking about church and faith. To walk with Christ is to have a life based on reason. That is it. The rest is dark forces.
You really really should read Religion Within The Boundaries Of Mere Reason. It will explain Christian philosophy and Kant was a genius.
It may actually be the Jesuits and not the Jews running things.
Gerrilea Added May 22, 2018 - 11:46pm
James T---I don't talk about this too often, I was dead for 8 minutes on March 17th, 1984.  I was tortured by the "knowledge" I had.  Of events and experiences others were yet to have or were having at that moment, even if I wasn't present with them. I never saw anything good, always pain and despair AND I could not stop it or change it. I recall asking God at the Chapel on campus, WHY? Why me???  I never got an answer.
This is why I do not believe in hell.  The opposite of "heaven" isn't hell but nothingness.
When I awoke, three days later in St. Joseph's Hospital, I was empty.  I felt nothing. I didn't even know I was dead. It was like the lights were just turned off.  No tunnel, no light...zilch.  These events, especially the teachings of Father Courneen, formed the foundation of my losing all faith, in everyone and everything.
But I digress.
I too explored other beliefs and mysticism.  I wanted to know what all the hype was about, (it was after the events I presented in the article above). There is only one that produced real-world unexplained "experiences", The Kabbala. I always felt a personal affinity for the Jewish faith, I felt it represented more of what I understood.  I thought, at times, that I was secretly Jewish!  But I never doubted the Divinity of Christ....odd...I know...but I still question why I must go through someone else to get to God.
What I gathered and came to understand (and this is not meant to be disrespectful), most of the Kabbalistic "magic" was/is a representation of natural forces in this universe and guiding & directing them to accomplish one's own desires. Calling down the power of YHWH, as it were, to do your own bidding.
I walked away understanding one thing, I already knew these things.  We all have those abilities, that's what prayer is.  I never needed a ritual before.
Wsucram15--  Thank you, I found that out exactly, "the door is always open".  It just took me to the brink of oblivion to reach for it.
Doug P-- You sound like you'd agree with Father Courneen's position:  "A reasoned faith".  I'd say that "reason" is only half of the equation.
There is "more" but what it is, I'm still exploring, testing and sharing.
EXPAT Added May 23, 2018 - 1:20am
Please describe to me the color blue. What does electricity look like? No No, not lightening or the bolt we see in an arch. When was the last time you saw a radio signal?
We know all these things exist, but language is insufficient to describe them. We are surrounded by forces that defy description. Primitive peoples understood this better than we, and developed methods to enhance them. But modern people have adopted a concept that if it is not Physical, it does not exist.
The point is, that the Metaphysical, including GOD, are beyond language, beyond the Bible, beyond Original Sin. To demand that GOD demonstrate presence to you, is to scream in an empty room.
There are things we KNOW, but defy physics. The presence of another person in a darkened room, impending doom, a child in danger far away, the very essence of who we are.
I do not pretend to understand this. I am just as ignorant as you, as to the meaning of life, and what comes after. But what I do know is we exist on two plains, the Physical and the Metaphysical. I believe that when the body deteriorates and dies, we transition to a purely Metaphysical state. My question is do we maintain an identity, or disperse into our thoughts.
Some of us have transitioned these existence briefly as you and JT testify.
Gerrilea Added May 23, 2018 - 2:13am
Expat--- I did scream into that empty room and was astounded that it never really was.
To answer your question, from what I've experienced.  Life may only be a simple process of the light being on or off, nothing more or less.
I chose to believe there is more.  In making said choice, I've found we live on, in the people and places we've touched.  The energy and love we share never dies, in fact, it grows. 
The question must be: Is your light strong enough to survive death?
EXPAT Added May 23, 2018 - 2:48am
I believe it is far more complex than your light being turned on and off. My reason for this is all the evidence of reincarnation, apriori knowledge, innatism, and the variation of talents between individuals.
Most of us have had the experience of concepts that come in the middle of the night. There are cases of people waking from a coma, and telling of having been to places their physical body has never been. I believe Bridey Murphy was one such case.
To ensure survival, humans have concentrated on the physical world. We have not developed the skills and means of exploring the Metaphysical. Some have! I once considered joining the Rosicrucian Society, but it required more dedication than I was willing to give.
Buddhism is another path to enlightenment, but again requires more dedication than I am willing to give.
Knowledge is probably the most demanding task of all!
EXPAT Added May 23, 2018 - 2:51am
P.S. Notice that my avatar is the scream.
opher goodwin Added May 23, 2018 - 4:14am
Ger - I was fortunately brought up without any indoctrination and encouraged to be free thinking. I had my religious phase in my late teens avidly getting into mysticism and Buddhism. After a study of many of the great religious books, including the bible, I came to the conclusion that they were all flawed and written by men. Some of the tribal and cultural baggage in them was pretty nasty too. I dumped religion as a bad job.
I have not had any 'spiritual' events and do not feel that it is all a waste of time if there is no god. Life is an experience to be wondered at and experienced to the full. That is what I have done.
Purpose?? Creativity, love, understanding, exploration, wonder, beauty, awe. There's more than enough to last a lifetime.
I enjoy life.
And god? Well I think that is a human concept to explain the unexplainable. If there was a supernatural being who imposed those rules on people - casting people to hell upon spurious grounds of belief - then I would find him a pretty sick character. I don't believe there is. I think that's all mumbo jumbo.
Is there a force running through the universe? Maybe? But I don't think it's contained in the holy books or words of men, in any of the religions or threats.
Flying Junior Added May 23, 2018 - 6:29am
This is a very complicated thread.  Gerrilea tells us that she wanted to cash in her chips when she was quite young, with her entire life ahead of her.
Thank you for such a deeply personal and emotional story.  Yet yu bring up an even more powerful question.  How do we know of the existence of a God?  Can we fervently call upon him or her for proof that we can understand?
I leave that question to the deeper thinkers.  My own views are much more traditional.  It is a gift from God when every baby is born.  Love and friendship are gifts from a benevolent creator.  The beauty and infinity of nature.  You see where I am going here.  Wordsworth.  Burns.  William Cullen Bryant.  The beauty of music and art.  The glories of youth.  The satisfaction of long life well-lived.  Everyday interactions where people show their common affection for each other.  The milk of human kindness.  Friendships formed quickly with natural, mutual attraction...  Friendships forged by common strife...  Love of family.  Our love for animals.  The joy of swimming in the warm waters of a safe beach or lake.  A swimming hole in Arizona.  A desert oasis in Southern California with rocks and sand where you can take your tennis shoes off and keep your socks clean while you are bathing.
These are the things that make me believe in a higher power.
Oh yeah, and sunsets.
Stone-Eater Added May 23, 2018 - 7:19am
I was raised without religion, my parents were protestants by paper but that without believing. It was - well - inherited religion I guess. While they stayed paper protestants all their life I quit at 16 officially. And I never regretted it and have been a happy atheist ever since.
Stone-Eater Added May 23, 2018 - 7:23am
Surviving death is not possible otherwise it would not be called death but transformation. And by the way: What would a "survival" of any sort of spirit serve for when one doesn't have the body to make things happen, to see, feel, hear and communicate ? ;-)
wsucram15 Added May 23, 2018 - 8:09am
Gerrilea; Exactly...and thats what happens to most people.  You either accept it or you dont.
It is a personal decision and really more spiritual in nature than religious.
Also I agree with FJ..there is evidence of God (or a higher power) in the things I have seen and experienced.  I also understand science and logic. But to me some things are just beyond rational explanation.  Will I debate this..absolutely not.  Im not here to justify my beliefs to anyone. Nor should they have to justify theirs to me.
Gerrilea Added May 23, 2018 - 8:20am
Expat-- I suspect those "reincarnation" stories are just echoes, like a tape recording.  Some are more capable than others to tune in, listen and then playback.
As for "knowledge", it's such an interesting topic.  There is man's knowledge and the knowledge unity brings.  Today too many of us have been physically damaged by our "modern" world. The chemicals in the air, food, water, vaccines and they all end up in us.  The biggest threat are GMO's, they've been found to bind to the lining of the gut and "incorporate" themselves into and changing us.
It seriously reminds me of the story of King Herod ordering the execution of all male children 2 yrs and under.  We are being shutdown and changed into something else and pure profits doesn't explain it. 
Opher G--- I came to similar conclusions.  An omnipotent being created other "lower" beings to worship and love Him?  To be tested & tortured to see if they pass to "rejoin" Him?  Nope, I find those ideas truly absurd and merely the machinations of man to control his fellow man.
This journey I've been on brought me to what Flying J was pointing out.  The miracle of God is reflected in the innocent laughter of child and in the beauty all around us.  The frozen stillness of a cold winter's night or the awe of a beautiful sunset.  The moment you met your soulmate, when the universe just stopped and you could be and do anything.
You know, the rarity of "life" tells me there must be more. If not, then what a waste of space and time.
Flying J-- Thank you and what a wonderfully great question: Can we call upon him or her for proof?  I did.  I went right to the "big cheese" and called.  I was given proof that no one could have given me, at that moment, in place I'd never been by a man I knew only too well and had blamed for so many things.
God exists within and through us, if we allow.
Stone-Eater-- Interesting concepts.  What's the point if one has no body or cannot control, communicate or effect the physical world?
What if this is just the beginning? Our science postulates infinite universes with various dimensions.  How would one describe a sphere to a 2-dimensional being? What would they understand if all they could see and experience was length and width?
What is the nature of light?  It's both a wave and a particle. One cannot exist without the other.  Imagine with me the ripple you create on still water when you throw a pebble into it.  It doesn't go "somewhere" but everywhere.
I'm just saying...
Gerrilea Added May 23, 2018 - 8:29am
Wsucram15-- I'm the proverbial "doubting Thomas".  I challenge and question my belief(s) all the time.  I don't see this conversation as me "justifying" anything but sharing what I know.  My faith and belief, if valid, can withstand inspection and criticism.
Who knows, maybe someone will point out something I missed or didn't consider. Maybe my faith and belief will be expanded to include more data sets.
I guess I can only hope, but I do understand what you're saying. Faith is truly one's own personal choice.  In the end, that's all we can control, our choices.
opher goodwin Added May 23, 2018 - 8:46am
Gerri - I can relate to the magic of sunsets, love, friendship, trees, nature, animals, rocks, seascapes, rivers, lakes, music and works of art. They have all elevated me to profound pleasure and feelings of connection. 
That is what I regard as spiritual.
For me there is nothing in religions or holy books, all written by men to gain power and control, or any religious leaders. Life and nature are enough. I can well do without the lies, division, hatred and tribalism. I don't need god to give my life validity. I have life. I celebrate it.
EXPAT Added May 23, 2018 - 9:11am
The fact that you people assign sexuality to God, male /Female shows you are incapable of comprehending the Metaphysical world!
The birth of a child is a biological function. Purely physical. The LIFE that it contains, the breath of ALLAH, as my Muslim friend puts it, is the miracle, or as I call it GOD!
wsucram15 Added May 23, 2018 - 9:30am
Gerrilea...for years me too.  In fact, I was really angry and in some ways felt betrayed by religion.
I was always spiritual I guess you would call it, but organized religion, no way.
Some really bad things happened to me in rapid succession and I just asked why..someone answered.  It was more involved than that, and I cant explain it any better.  I just know how I felt prior and then after to this day.  It always works out, maybe not how you want it to..but it works out the way it needs to. 
It is about your perspective though.  I always thought I had it bad and sometimes I did, but I never not had what I needed.  Perhaps not what I wanted, but I had enough to get by somehow.
Now that I know that, every day is a gift. If I live well, I am blessed, and if I live modestly, I am still blessed.   Its about your perspective. To a degree and only a degree I can understand the perspectives of Opher and SEF, I have respect for both of them.  The books are stories and we are taught those for guidance, but they are written with a bias.  Take that for what it is worth to you.. 
Live well.
Richard Plank Added May 23, 2018 - 10:30am
Interesting story, similar to many others I have heard, but with your personal twist.   I try and simplify this issue as much as I can.  My basic assumption is that the question of is there a god or creator or not in reference to our existance and that around us is a question for science.  So far science has not come up wth an answer and in fact for the most part has issues with even rudimentary falsification of alternatives.  That assumed, whatever you believe you believe and I certainly won't question it in the normal sense.  My position is simply I do not know and therefore do not have a postion.  I do have learnings, however which is towards a creator, but I would be a deist, all this God someone controls us and gives us things I have no belief in.   Not an unusal or particulary creative position, but given the complexity of the issue it is how I deal with it mentally.
Gerrilea Added May 23, 2018 - 11:26am
Opher G-- I relate and agree.  I had life and was rejecting it.  God didn't validate my life, He validated His existence. It's a huge difference.
Expat-- Such hostility, intriguing. When I reference "He" or "Him", it's generic, like "humanity" but when I reference Jesus, He was/is a He.
Let's go a tad further, you asked me to describe what electricity looked like.  It's very simple, an oscillation between two opposite forces, combined into one.   We are a reflection of the Universe we inhabit.  We are that electricity. All that we know, see and experience is that electricity.  God is all things.
I cannot equate God to your friend's, "Allah" and without a common reference point, it's almost impossible to communicate in a constructive manner on the claim you've made.
I'll try this: "your breathe of Allah" vs all that we know and experience as "life" on this planet, is just a biological function, the difference is consciousnesses perhaps?  Does this mean that only humans have something special that sets us apart from the beasts of the wild or the plants and flowers?
What proof or testimony can you provide?
Wsucram15-- That bias has been revealed for what it is...control and manipulation. Thank you and blessing to you and yours.
Richard P-- So true, we can only "know" what we experience, the rest is pure conjecture, opinion and guessing. I do enjoy the exercise however.
Dave Volek Added May 23, 2018 - 12:07pm
Nice story and well written.
You have taken this article into a very interesting direction. Great comments to generate some interesting thinking.
I must now digest this great thread. Maybe I'll have something say. Maybe not.
Even A Broken Clock Added May 23, 2018 - 1:14pm
Gerrilea - a very powerful personal post. Thank you for posting.
TexasLynn Added May 23, 2018 - 1:56pm
Thank you for the post; especially since it involved such a personal and painful experience.
I enjoyed our theological discussions on your other thread with Stephen.  All three of us are on separate pages concerning this subject but I appreciate getting the difference perspective and how you got there.  Reading this thread... there seem to be a lot of pages on this subject.
If I could ask two questions in relation to your post and your journey...
Do you still consider yourself Catholic?
Do you still consider yourself Christian?
And maybe the shed some light as to your reasoning as to why (or why not)?
Thanks in advance...
Carole McKee Added May 23, 2018 - 3:10pm
I suppose we all have a story, and I, of course, have mine. I was raised Catholic. The whole experience was not pleasant. I'm left-handed, and nuns would beat my knuckles bloody for holding a pencil in my left hand. They would sprinkle me with holy water and forbid other children to play with me, because I was ruled by the devil. As soon as I was able, meaning I was an adult, I pulled away from the Catholic Church, I married and had two beautiful children.
When he was around 13, my son began going to the local Presbyterian Church, all on his own. He got me to go, and I found that I liked it. The service was easier, and the rules weren't as rigid. And the people were all very pleasant. 
Seven years later my son became ill, and the prognosis was not good. He lived another 10 years. During that time, he kept his faith, and I kept mine. When it was apparent that his illness was taking a turn for the worse, I began praying, on my knees. Not just praying, but begging God not to take him from me. Well, my so passed away. For three days I raged at God, calling Him names, swearing at Him, saying He was hateful. I cried and I ranted. My heart hurt so badly, I could hardly stand up. 
Then one night I had a dream. All I saw was an arm, and a hand pointing at a staircase. The staircase was gleaming white and it was massive--wide and tall. I began walking up the staircase, passing others who were slowly walking up, too. I got halfway up and stopped. There was a brilliant golden door that just glinted in the sun. As I stood there, the door opened, and out stepped my son! He looked healthy--cheeks were rosy and his muscled body was well-defined. He looked nothing like the wasted away body of 110 pounds and skin the color of mustard he was when he died. 
That showed me that although not on Earth any more, he was the same healthy kid he used to be. He looked down at me and smiled, and then went back inside and closed the door. I awoke with tears running down my face, and I thanked God for showing me. I knew Eric was okay. I still miss him like crazy. He will be gone 16 years on the 30th of this month. God showed me that although my prayers weren't answered, Eric's were. He prayed to be the same guy he was before the illness took over, and that there would be a cure for it. Five years after his death there was a breakthrough. And now, 16 years later the same doctor that treated Eric has been curing the awful disease of PNH. He gives Eric part of the credit for the cure. Mysterious ways...? 
Carole McKee Added May 23, 2018 - 3:21pm
Now to continue the story. I moved to Florida from PA, and found a really nice Presbyterian Church to join. My faith became stronger than ever.
When we were hit by the hurricane last summer, I took my cats and went up to Northern Florida and checked into a motel. After the hurricane went through, I started back home to Tampa Bay. Well, anyone who paid attention knows that there were no open gas stations in Florida after that hurricane. About 55 miles from home my fuel light came on. I prayed for an open gas station. I told God he never answered my prayers, but certainly He didn't want me to be stranded on the road with the kitties in the car. "So please, Lord, let there be an open gas station so I can get home." Well, there wasn't one. But I drove all the way, 55 miles, with the fuel light on, and safely made it into my driveway. Two days later, I took a 5-gallon gas can up to the open station and filled it up. I poured it into my tank and the needle never moved. But I knew there was enough in there to get me to the station. It cost me $40 to fill the tank, which normally would have been $25.  So I think God pushed that car all the way home for me. Since then, I have increased my belief in God, and have become a Deacon in my church. 
Gerrilea Added May 23, 2018 - 3:23pm
Dave V and EABC-- Thank you for taking the time, maybe it will brighten your day and give you a moment to pause, and be.
TexasLynn--  I've asked myself those questions for a very long time.  I think I'm working on the answer, as we have this conversation.
I know this for sure, I first learned of God/Jesus/Holy Ghost in a Catholic Church. I call it home with a "however".  However, it is only as good as the men whom control it. The Church has always been about politics and control. They use faith as an opiate for the masses. It's a rare occasion when/if I go to a church today where I find the Holy Spirit is present.  
The majority have no metaphysical connection with God, despite Expat's limited understandings, my faith and my prayers are always metaphysical, they can be nothing less.
Here I must concede the Catholic Church isn't the sole proprietor.
The Catholic Church lost it's way. It's forgotten the reason for it's existence, to preach the truth Jesus gave us.  Alas, I still cling to hope that it will return, for my roots will always be there.
Now as for Christian...The teachings of Jesus I hold dear to my heart.  He was, for a very long time, my guide.  The measure of my existence was this, "What would Jesus do?"  Decades and decades before the phrase became "popular".
I knew He was/is God so I never understood the part of going through Him first, it made no sense to me. Humanity likes to compartmentalize things, me... I see the whole thing...or try to.
When I take the Sacrament, I know that it represents Jesus/God, God/Jesus. One cannot be without the other.
Does any of this make sense to you?  Does it answer your questions?
TexasLynn Added May 23, 2018 - 3:28pm
Does any of this make sense to you?
It does.
Does it answer your questions?
It does.
The answers and explanation were exactly what I was looking for.
Thank you. :)
Gerrilea Added May 23, 2018 - 3:32pm
Carole M--- First off, my heartfelt prayers to you and your family.  Second, THANK YOU for sharing such tragedy and beauty with us.  I'm truly honored you felt secure with us to share such deeply painful and metaphysical experience.
I'm not sure what else to say.  Wsucram15 above, pointed out that we are given what we need, not always what we want.
Blessings and peace.
Carole McKee Added May 23, 2018 - 4:07pm
Gerrilea: I have to agree with Wsucram15. He does indeed, give us what we need; not what we want. And God may not come through when we want Him to, but He's always on time.
Neil Lock Added May 23, 2018 - 7:02pm
Gerrilea: I confess that at first reading I thought this was a short story, not a personal experience. But thank you anyway. And if you have been through all you relate, you have my sympathy.
I think many of the comments here confirm my position that religion isn't amenable to reason. Whether or not there is a god, and whatever it might or might not be, are irrelevant and probably unanswerable. What works at the deep level for one individual, works for that person; but might not work for another. So, none of us should ever deny others their right to have their own religious views. As I like to put it: "If you let me have my religion, or lack of it, I'll let you have yours."
Carole McKee Added May 23, 2018 - 8:25pm
Neil Lock

"If you let me have my religion, or lack of it, I'll let you have yours."
I totally agree with this statement. It basically means you mind your business and I'll mind mine. A philosophy everyone should adopt.

Gerrilea Added May 23, 2018 - 10:43pm
Neil Lock-- Yes, I've experienced tragedy, like many others, my story I do not believe is unique, such is life on this planet.
For me, religion and reason aren't too far apart.  Many go to the extremes, I try to stay balanced but some incidents, like the one I've shared goes beyond the "conventional".
It has elicited some unusual responses and hostility, to my surprise. Be clear, I don't pretend to know any more than I've experienced.   I experienced a crack in the veneer of our reality and found "more".
I truly understand we all see an accident from our own unique perspective.  Do with it what you will. I would never be so presumptuous in thinking I have any power over the beliefs others hold or do not.