George Michael is singing my ears (and heart) right now, as I muse over my wonderings. For those of you who never experienced the bliss of WHAM! in the 90’s, feel free to Google.
Faith. That’s today’s wondering. For years I struggled with connection to any singular realm of organized Religion, with a capital "R". I learned early in life that true sinners don't get front row seats. I found myself conflicted with this antithesis to the "golden rule." I found myself curious to learn about what other belief systems had to say about Faith.
I also knew early on in life that I was flawed. Severely flawed. A sinner to the core. And for that, I've felt dubious judgement, which came full circle me to become that Judgy McJudgerson, and at the risk of emulating her, I did not like her at all. She had to go.
That said, an evolution in my Faith has taken place over my half century on Earth. In that time span, I’ve had the honor to study a few religions with an "R" and ways to connect to a higher power, or universal intelligence, or whatever you want to call it. I found this inherent connection to nature and a strong belief in caring for our Mother Earth and all of its creatures, great and small. I've learned a great deal about science and technology and advances that come from funded research. I let the flow of musical chord and rhythm move me (even at the risk of public viewing of what could loosely termed as "dancing.") From them all, I take this: You’ve Got to Have Faith.
Faith in what? Faith in yourself, first and foremost. Faith in our fellow human. Faith in some (clearly, not all) of the systems in place to protect, care for, and serve us. We all know some of these systems are devastatingly archaic and flawed and do nothing to help but hurt us. Faith in our higher power, universal intelligence, God, intuition, whatever moniker you want to attach to it. Faith in the course of nature. Faith in science. Faith in humanity. If you want to give it a name, it's called secular humanism.
Finding our Faith sounds all well and good, but how do we have unwavering Faith when dealt with unfathomable blows of life? Where do we turn when all seems dark? Trust me, I've been there: that rock-bottom pit of despair where not much matters and not much seems hopeful. We all have. What do we do to claw our way out? Some rely on prayer, some devote moments daily to mindfulness practices and meditation. Some dig into research and the science around their conundrums. Some reach to their community of caring.
Needing steps in small, palatable bites, it was imperative to start with gratitude. Simple gratitudes. Silly gratitudes. Some days I was just happy to not play Bowel Movement Bingo. Some days I was thankful for restful night's sleep and the opportunity of watching the sun rise on the way to work. Some days the gratitude bomb hit hard: my bar non, circles of the best family and friends imaginable. What are we grateful for? Do we awaken every day with a mindset of gratitude? I’m grateful for my creaking bones because they move me. I’m grateful for feeling a bit tired because I was able to put a full day of living in the day before. I'm grateful for the never-ceasing growth of dust bunnies under every piece of furniture in my warm, slice of heaven called HOME. I’m grateful for the compassion, FAITH, and open minds of others. I recently heard a cancer survivor state she was grateful for her cancer. Wait. What? How is that even possible? I, for one, most certainly didn't ask for this beast called breast cancer...
...or, did I? Funny how when you are sleep deprived, you have moments of complete lucidity where everything suddenly becomes crystal clear. I invited this journey. I did!
In my book, Battle Courage, I go into a deep dive of how I came to discover my Faith. I didn't seek it out. Faith made its presence known to me, just like Faith does sometimes. During this whole Faith-testing journey, I found what I was looking for. Maybe you will, too.
In the meantime, I invite the George Micheal ear worm to evacuate the premises.