I always knew a day would come on here when I’d have to spell it out what I actually believe about faith… And now the The Daily Post is asking, Un/Faithful: Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t. Do I even want to tackle this prompt? I will begin and see how it goes. I’m quite sure by now I’ve confused a lot of folks!
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First let me say, FAITH is not a NOUN, it is a VERB, a JOURNEY. It’s not something you can just have. Sitting in a church, a synagogue, a mosque doesn’t make you a believer of anything anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car. That’s the best place to begin.
Born and raised in a protestant home, I learned early on to reverence the Bible. I loved Jesus and knew ALL the Sunday School answers. I always played by the Book. I’m not saying I was particularly successful at it. Sometimes I fairly sucked! But the important thing was I BELIEVED what Jesus said. To me he was a master of psychology. And when I verbally made the comment that I had repented and given my life to the Lord, I meant that I had decided his way of living was how I intended to strive to live, too.
However, when the time comes for you to go off on your own, often you find life isn’t quite what you thought it was going to be. I married Lord Drollery who was not of my “faith persuasion” and the easiest answer to the religion dilemma we faced seemed to be NOT go to church at all. That’s when my NOUN started to become a VERB — as it must in everyone’s life or you never make FAITH your own. I decided to ignore it altogether.
As I explained in From Crisis to Christmas, we tried for six years to start a family. Then finally (after several miscarriages) we managed to get pregnant. I lost that baby at four months and was devastated. I was beginning to have a sense that I was being punished for turning my back on church. And any FAITH (NOUN) I had in God went out the window. I had always figured if you played by the book you ought to at least get your prayers answered. But I felt strongly that NO ONE was listening to mine.
I cried every day at work till one day my boss was so sick of it he sent me home for the day. For some reason I didn’t understand then, I found myself at the library wandering down the aisle on religions, an aisle I never visited. And there on one shelf was a book just ready to fall off. I pulled it out intending to replace it more neatly when the title caught my attention. Just As I Am by Eugenia Price.
I knew that song! I loved listening to it being sung on the Billy Graham Crusades on TV and watching people come forward to be prayed with as they sought their FAITH thinking it was something they could find once and for all. I was beginning to understand it wasn’t that easy. As it turned out, the book was Ms. Price talking about what the words of the song meant to her. And for the first time I began to understand the difference that FAITH really was a VERB.
Still holding to Jesus’ philosophy — and Lord Drollery having made his own commitment to living by those same principles — we moved forward in our lives. We joined a church and all went well. We were the FAITHFUL living the dream. Then we adopted our daughter Stefanie Kavitha and life hit the fan again. Just as we prepared to go to court for our final adoption, Drollery got laid off his job. One week sooner and we wouldn’t have had our daughter.
I was so angry at God. For eight months we lived on a little bit of unemployment while Drollery sent out tons of resumes, but because he only had a two-year degree from a business college, employers just weren’t interested. Then out of the blue his boss from the old job where he’d worked for over 20 years came to him and said the “new guy” couldn’t handle it, would he please consider coming back — for a third the pay check! Talk about adding insult to injury! There was no feeling of thankfulness. Instead it felt like a slap in the face. That was it. I was done with God, with FAITH as a NOUN.
But Eugenia Price’s book had done its work in my heart and I began to feel a softening toward God, toward FAITH. The idea of a JOURNEY came to represent more of how I perceived my spirituality. I couldn’t say I believe in an all-knowing God because if there was one, he/she/it sure wasn’t listening to MY prayers, and yet I’d seen so many miracles in our life that I just couldn’t dismiss the whole idea of FAITH altogether.
I’m still asking the deep questions about God: Is there a Creator? Is that being a personal being? Is it all a cosmic accident? You get the picture. And I’m not quiet about the doubts that rage in my mind and heart. But the one thing I do know is that I LOVE Jesus and what he stands for. I believe if we all lived the way he prescribed this world would be the place of love and peace we’d all like to see it be.
And so I follow his teachings to the best of my abilities while I attend church with a local congregation that is loving and accepting of my need to question even as I practice Jesus’ principles and reach out to help my fellow neighbor. And I have come to believe that THIS is the true state of being of FAITH. It’s a JOURNEY we choose to take. One that continues to push us to grow and question.
Will I ever have a definitive answer to my questions? I don’t think so. I don’t think we’re supposed to. That’s why they call it FAITH. It’s a mystery. I think I will always live on the corner of Faithful and Agnostic, but I choose to be a disciple of Jesus, to believe in his way of living, to look at life as a miracle, and FAITH as a VERB. And I thank whatever powers that be for all the wonderful and amazing pilgrims I’ve met on the road along the way. You have encouraged and supported me and kept my quest alive. And I do thank God for you all.
These quotes I always keep tucked away in my heart.
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