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Mollie Stein

SRT 285 01/ Dr. Leap

Spirituality Essay 3

October 20, 2016

Path of Belief Guiding the Path of Return

I interviewed my mother about her spirituality for this third essay. I


have a very close relationship with her and she is someone I would feel the
most comfortable talking to about deeper topics. I know what she has been
through, how God has played an important role in her life, and how these
challenges and triumphs have made her the person that she is today. She
has influenced my actions and choices when it comes to my spirituality and
religion. She was the sole factor pushing me to go to Catholic school, attend
church, pray, and even to just be a better person. She is the reason that I
have allowed God to be part of my life. While both of us have gone through
different challenges in life, we have always been there for one another with
love and support and to remind each other that God is there for us. After
reading the chapter in Martins book, I placed myself on the Path of Return. I
believe that my mom does fit on the Path of Return as well, but is also still
walking on the Path of Belief at the same time. According to Fowler, I believe
that she is in the Conjunctive Faith stage of life as well. I believe that she is
at this stage because she is confident in who she is, she is aware of her
behaviors and patterns, she is open and a caring person to those around her
no matter what differences are between them, and she has suffered great
loss but has remained a positive person throughout.

My mother and I would divide the chapters of our lives in similar ways,
but the story elements, conflicts, and characters would differ. As my mother
said, no matter how the chapters finally come to an end, it will be a happy
ending. One thing I love about my mother is her positivity, which I believe
she gets from her trust and faith in God. She was brought up in a family who
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had good values, had strict parents, and who incorporated God throughout
their everyday lives. My mother has passed on the values and beliefs in God
that she had learned through her family, to me. Although, I would not
consider my mom strict. I believe she is an open person, who is open to
others perspectives, beliefs, and ideas. She has guided me throughout my
life with suggestions and advice, but I believe she let me be my own person
without strictness or enforcing her values on me and I am thankful for that.
Whenever we have an argument or disagreement, she is open to my
perspective of the situation, she listens, and takes my opinion into a count. It
is always a two sided conversation with her, not a strict one sided one. Even
though she has let me choose what person I become in life, I did choose to
follow some of her values because I also believe that they are important. We
both receive hope and meaning from those in our lives, such as family and
friends, and especially from each other. She has also taught me to receive a
source of hope and meaning from God, because he is always there for us and
listening. Not only has she taught me values pertaining to God, but she has
also taught me how to be a moral person. My mother said in her interview
that she lives by the motto, Do unto others as you would have done to
yourself. She also explained the importance of giving at least one
compliment to one stranger a day. I have been taught to follow the same
values. She has taught me to be a moral person and she makes it seem
effortless to be a kind and compassionate person to others, because it is.
Although we both believe in God and that one day we will meet him again in
Heaven, that is not the reason that I was taught to be kind. My mother has
taught me the importance of genuinely being a nice person to every one you
meet every day, the thought of Heaven aside. My mother is the person that
she is today, ultimately making me the person that I am today also, because
of the challenges she has had throughout her life. When she was young, her
close sister died suddenly and shortly after that she started experiencing
miscarriages. Before my birth, she had four miscarriages and a still born.
After my birth, her mother became extremely ill and my own mother quit her
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job and everything else in her life to take care of her. When her mother
passed on a few years later, her father then became ill and she went through
the same experiences with him. It has been two years since my Pap has
passed, and since then she has been a stay at home mom. One would think
that these hardships that she has had would turn her away from God but I
believe it has made her closer to Him. She believes that bad times will lead
to good from God and that everything happens for a reason. God has put her
on this Earth for these things to happen, and good things will come of it.
These things have made her the loving and compassionate person that she
is today, the person that God intended her to be. Thinking about all of these
things that my mother has done, her actions, her thoughts, and her values,
has me thinking that she is at the faith development stage, Conjunctive
Faith. Some characteristics of Conjunctive Faith are being open to differences
in others, establishing and being aware of your own patterns and beliefs,
being confident in yourself, and experiencing loss throughout your life but
being able to persevere and grow through it. My mother has done all of these
things. She has let me become my own person and form my own ideas and
she has been nothing but kind to others no matter what the circumstances
because she is an open person. She has established her own beliefs and
values because she is confident in herself. Most importantly, she has
persevered and grown throughout great loss in her life, something very
difficult to do, and has let her own faith guide her through it.

I started my journey of faith in preschool, where I attended a Catholic


school the whole way up until fourth grade. It was my mothers decision to
put me in a Catholic elementary school but she let me choose where I
wanted to go for middle and high school, which happened to be public
schools. During my time in Catholic school, I prayed every day at school and
with my mother. I attended church twice each week, once with my class and
once will my family. Every day that I went to church with my class, my
mother would come and attend too. When I left Catholic school and attended
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public school, church services were no longer part of our lives. My mother
still prayed from her prayer book every single morning, but I no longer
prayed with her. Because I had lost touch with church and prayer, after
reading a chapter in Martins book, I placed myself on the Path of Return. I
have never stopped believing in God, but I have not kept close with my faith
and it is something I am gradually starting to do more. I am slowly returning
to where I once was in my faith. I believe that this whole time, my mother
has stayed on the Path of Belief, she has never lost touch of her faith despite
the challenges she has been through and she has never stopped her prayers.
Although she has also been on that Path of Belief, I believe that she could
also be walking next to me on the Path of Return. She is guiding me through
my return to faith will she is also returning to where she once was. Together,
we are working on getting back to the faith that we held when I was in
Catholic elementary school.

Although my mother has been through a lot, she has never lost faith or
trust in God. She believes that one can always improve in their faith and with
their communication to Him. Religion has challenged her to persevere
through these hardships and stay the compassionate and kind woman she
always has been. God has made a path for each and every person, and it will
lead you to a happy ending and eternal life with Him. Through these values I
have learned from my mother, together we will continue to persevere and
grow with our love for God, our faith, our love for others, and especially the
love we have for each other.