This time last week I was crying, pretty much uncontrollably, but with my heart fuller than it has felt in some time. I am talking today, about Faith, the belief in something more extraordinary than just what is tangible to us here in this life. Let me cut right to the chase though, before some of you are quick to judge…. I am not defined by religion, nor do I affiliate with one. I will tell you also, loud and clear, that my Faith is so deeply rooted in who I am, that there was a time it was the only thing that kept me going. I refer to it as my Faith with a capital F, because any other name for It, bounds me to that version of religion. I believe, “religion divides, Faith unites”.
You see I was raised Catholic, and while I am not here to be negative towards anyone’s beliefs, being raised a way is wholly different than seeking, understanding and accepting our own way. I was required, obliged if you will, to maintain the Catholic adherence that was set forth generations before me. My grandmother, God rest her soul, even had Holy water in her nursing home room, she didn’t even go to her own bathroom without God’s blessing! It was, however, not a fit for me. I don’t need to go into reasons why, here, but simply enough, I did not “connect” within those walls. The book seemed too limiting to me (very unpopular opinion at the time). And the more it was required of me, the more I resisted. Typically Defiant, also a delicious Bourbon… squirrel!
Okay, back to my story…. The first time I actually was moved, when I deeply, truly felt my Faith, was on a walk in the woods. Nature has a way with me, cutting right through the chaos of my mind, straight to the Heart of my soul. I felt every hair stand on end as the breeze came, and that little voice that had always seemed to “guide me”, you know the one, was louder than ever. Now stay with me here, this was not some booming voice through the trees kinda moment. It was simply that warmth, that definition of who I was, that peace, a fullness in my chest, a certainty that I was going to be okay. That I was not ever alone. That I was loved beyond earthly measure. The kind of voice that tells you to try again tomorrow, or that this thing is right for you, or that thing is not. The part of you related to intuition and gut feelings. That is not something actually in your stomach telling you what to do… it is where your Heart, of your soul, really exists.
I stopped in my tracks and tried to feel every second of it, not realizing how much I would need to call on that connection with my Faith in the coming years.
As you may have read in previous posts (thank you) and will have more opportunities to in future writings, I have survived through some stuff… stuff that no one should have to survive. Now, this is not about comparison, there will always be people who have it worse, or better. That does not direct the fact that somethings can still just be really. fucking. awful. There were days when I was pregnant in a troubled situation, begging for guidance. Days, years later, where I didn’t think I could muster the strength after a night of terror and chaos, just to get up and put my little boy on the school bus. Days, I was alone and scared in a room full of people. But I did, I found the strength, and I will tell you that it came only from one source; my Faith. That same Faith I drew on to leave a troubled marriage, to be a better mother than I thought I could, to escape in a one day move from the abusive house, to see me through 12 deaths in a one year period, is the same Faith that compels me to share, to be a light for others, to be as open and honest as I can. And Lordy on those days when this child tries my ever lovin patience, yep… my Faith is there too.
So there I was a few weeks ago, scrolling along on Facebook, and I see a friends post about her church. Now normally, given my history with “church”, I apply my “just keep scrolling” jingle, but this one called to me. Days later, unable to shake it, I reached out to her, and wouldn’t you know it, Faith was stepping in here. She was ecstatic to spread her Faith, and unbeknownst to me, I was being called to hear a message that I so desperately needed. We made a plan to meet for the service, and I was excited. Like in anticipation, like my Soul knew what was coming excited. A little sidebar here about how the whole universe conspires for you when you need it to… it did. I ended up chatting with another girlfriend the day before, and she too goes to this same gathering. More excitement, coupled with the flood of, maybe I won’t, overcome by some more excitement. So the morning of we walk in and my attitude is “what’s the worst that could happen?” then I hear the music… lyrics, words, the beautiful voices. I am liking this…. My gal pal leans over disappointed that their usual pastor isn’t there… again I think, what’s the worst, then that little voice surges, “he has a message for you”…. I am at full attention.
His message you ask…. well I am glad you did… a message from Paul (also my little brother, who owns a large percentage of my heart’s first name, more on him soon)… “you are not meant to suffer these burdens in life alone, cast all of your doubts and anxieties on Him” skeeeerp – I am sorry, did you just look right at me and use the word anxiety… to me, today, this morning… to me?! Open floodgates. My heart was flung wide open as I knew I was being reminded of that voice in the woods, my Faith saying you do not have to go this alone, your anxieties, these Earthly troubles are not for you to bear alone. Tears. The anxiety I deal with daily, tears, the weight of being a single mother, tears, sole provider for my growing boy, tears, work, life, love, deaths, fears, gripping sadness, insecurities, things I have endured, lifted. TEARS. My Faith shouldering my burdens, right there in that moment, I was free, and safe, and loved, certainly. More tears. Heart full.
To top off the day, I left and wanted to reach out to my brother immediately. He is a noble man, a fantastic father, and husband, a believer in God, and is doing good work to reach people where he knows he can help. We have a relationship that has weathered the storms, and made us better humans, closer because of it. I admire him immensely. He happened to be writing for his youth group at that very moment, and as I began to divulge my morning experience, we found ourselves both in tears and in complete awe. He happened to be writing on a topic about relationships at the very moment I wanted to share so much with him, how grateful I was… for our relationship. Clarity, it was bigger than us. We are all connected.
It is always there, in moments of joy, and moments of anxiety. Whether its a walk in the woods, or a great laugh with friends, or a heart to heart with my boy, and countless other daily reminders. My Faith is in me, the Heart of my soul. Today I am reflecting on last Sunday, rejoicing in my Faith, because I was instructed to last week. To place my rejoicing in my Faith, rather than Chipotle coupons, or if my blog gets read, or if my son is getting good grades, etc. because then I can always rejoice, in the certainty.
I hope however you find your Faith, or if you have yet to, that it brings you peace and LOVE POPS! Sending you love, light, and laughs.
Throwing up my peace sign,