I was in a stressful, sad space this weekend. Something serious happened to someone I love and he ended up in the ICU of a big NYC hospital. The situation required my attention, time and whole heart to be present with him. It’s looking like things will improve back to normal over time, but it’s that time that makes me so impatient.
Wanting things to be different, wishing to speed things up (healing, understanding, growth); I wanted a magic wand to wash it all away or change it instantly because it’s just plain uncomfortable.
It’s times like these that make me think of faith.
What is it? Where does it come from? I know mine is an ever-changing, living thing. I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family where we went to church every Sunday. I didn’t think much about it when I was young, it was just something we did.
As I’ve gotten older and encountered different challenging situations, I’ve realized it’s easy to have faith when things are going well.
It’s the troubled times that challenge my faith and make me dive in and really see what it’s all about. Faith begins when the doubt creeps in.
I like to think of myself as Christian-Bu (a buddhist christian). It feels to me like all religious paths lead to the same general space. Aren’t they basically saying the same thing? Be kind to each other, respect your neighbor, don’t do/say anything you wouldn’t be proud to do/say in front of your mother, keep the main thing the main thing.
I have found being flexible to be a big part of faith–knowing that nothing is set in stone and situations can change in an instant. The part of faith is having that trust–knowing it will work out how it’s supposed to work out.
My faith has become a springboard of sorts. When things are bad, I dive in; when things are good, I try to throw a mental tennis ball against it to make sure it comes back to me (by way of meditation). To some, faith is nothing more than a wish in the wind, a fleeting thought of comfort, wondering what to believe.
Even though my faith fluctuates here and there, I want more than that. I find it’s the tough time that challenges me to flex my muscles around letting go. Because I’ve found that’s what it’s really about…letting go of my wants and knowing to a certain extent, it is out of my hands.
What do you do in times that challenge you? Do you define your understanding of faith so that it helps you and makes you grow?