Faith is not without doubt, fear, disappointment and worry. I’ve come to learn that these feelings come to us as an opportunity to respond differently to whatever is happening to us. They are giving us the opportunity to pray and watch our faith grow. Faith is always with us and doubt, fear, disappointment and worry are just signs that prayer is needed for whatever it is we are experiencing.
I don’t think you can have true, deep faith with out doubt. When we stop asking questions we start acting like puppets. Responding to life in ways we think we should instead of asking our questions, pondering our questions and then giving God a chance to respond and guide us.
Fear, disappointment and worry come from the ego. Now we can’t live without an ego. That is we need our egos to function in the world. To sit, walk, speak etc….we need our egos. Our egos serve us well however, when we are fearful, disappointed and worrisome it’s the ego trying to get the best of us. It’s our ego and the world view that is distorting what is really happening.
Over time as our faith grows, and we begin to understand that there is more to life than meets the eye, instead of falling in the trap of fear, disappointment and worry, we pray and then we have an opportunity to see things differently. That’s one of the mysteries of the spiritual life.
Now I have to admit that there times when it is very difficult for me to pray my way out of some emotions. I’ve come to realize that there are times when the feelings have to run their course….it hurts like hell….it even feels like hell… but having just come through a difficult time when all I could say was……”Will this really pass??? Instead of ….“This too will pass!!!” It seemed like all my praying did not help. But guess what it has passed and I’ve got my joy back and I’m in a better place because of it all.
Recently I made up my mind I was going to do everything in my power,(notice the operative words, my power), to change some character defects that were disturbing to me. I resolved to be more patient, kind, loving and gentle with everyone. Well everything got worse. I subscribe to Fr. Richard Rohr’s e-mail spiritual messages that come everyday. When I was so disappointed in my inability to change myself, truly in the depths of despair, I get an inspirational message from Fr. Richard reminding me of the 7th Step of the anonymous programs which says, “We humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings.” Notice it says humbly. Humility was totally lost in thinking I could change myself. Oh my I’d forgotten that my power is worthless. It’s God’s power that changes me. I can not make anything happen on our own. I just plain forgot again…I forget, I’m reminded, and I forget again. And….life goes on.
I also came across a favorite Rumi Poem called, “A Guest House,” that helped me realize that I needed to be patient, kind, loving and gentle with myself…DUH…Here’s the poem:
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
Oh I’m not changing as fast as I would like…..but I am reminded that everything happens in God’s timing and not mine. I’ve been here before and I’ll probably be here again…..but I like to look at my life like I’m climbing a circular staircase. It may look like I’m right back where I started when in actuality I’ve grown and moved up a step or two.
I have a couple of stories to share about the way God works in my life but I’ll save them for the next time I sit to write.
Until the next time…..May God continue to bless you and all that you do. I love each one of you, you are dear to me.
“Remember to Feed Your Soul”