Wow are there days when my faith is tested. Let me just say here at the beginning that my scriptures are a set of my best friends. They are well worn, marked, cross referenced, wrinkled, full of various bookmarks, and filled with things I love that make me feel enlightened, peaceful, and full of hope. Ok. So you get where I am starting from.
--If you're not religious or don't believe in God or a higher power or whatever, that's cool. You may or may not want to continue reading my rambling thoughts.--
The last 30 days have been difficult for me. The last week has been a sob fest in more ways than one.
I get snippets of happiness now and then, but they are fleeting. My mind is an emotional beach, the wet sand under my toes a source of peace and joy. Then the surf rolls in and pulls the sand out from under my feet and I am helpless to stop it.
When it comes to dealing with the emotional ups, downs, ins and outs, I go through various stages:
* I can feel God with me, loving me and helping me through.
* I don't understand what I'm supposed to be learning from this, but plead for help anyway.
* I try to be patient and get through the days, looking for things to be grateful for and laugh about in a world that seems gray and dreary.
* I get angry and frustrated, and instead of just talking to God, I yell and cry and demand that He fix me. I know He can, I just don't understand why He won't. What more does He want from me???
There are days when I can feel the Spirit walking me through life because I can't do it myself. And then there are days I am so angry that I couldn't hear God if he was in the same room with me and yelling back. On days like those, I find myself thinking, "Well, I'm in hell now, I might as well be prepared to be there when I die, because this is too hard."
My mother would be so ashamed to hear me admit this. It's hard to admit this out loud, but it's the truth. And on those days when I just don't want to hear Him, when I curl up and sleep or stare at the wall because I just can't make myself read my scriptures or get on my knees to pray, those are the days I get small miracles.
There is a sweet Jehovah's Witness woman who comes around once a month. She has the best smile. I swear this woman is an angel in the guise of a woman. She stops at the door, checks on how I'm feeling, apologizes if she's woken me up, and then says she'll come back at a different time if that's better for me. But she's already there, and I always ask her what her message for the day is. She gives me this sweet, loving smile, and shares a scripture and thought with me. Her bible is different than mine in its verbiage, but the message and the spirit are the same. It doesn't matter what scripture she chooses or which thought she shares, it's always what I need to hear.
On days that I just don't believe that I'm loved anymore, an angel shows up in one form or another and says, "Yes you are. Don't give up yet."
Even though I get angry, petulant, pouty, grumpy, and throw tantrums, somehow it's still ok. Even though it's not, it is.
What does all this have to do with faith? I think it boils down to: Faith doesn't mean God will fix me. It means that I understand He's there, no matter how bad it gets. And He understands. I absolutely, totally, firmly believe that He understands my illness. That if it gets so bad that the illness wins and takes me, that He understands that, too.
I may not always be able to feel Him with me, but that doesn't mean He's not there. That is my definition of faith.
-- Let me just add... this doesn't mean I don't 'kick against the pricks' or struggle with basic commandments. Oh I'm so far from perfect... There are days when I'm so angry that I want to go break every covenant I've ever made, just because I can. Just to say, "So there!" Not that it would accomplish anything but cause me pain, but honestly there are days that I believe that's all I deserve. So please don't come away from reading this post thinking that I feel like I'm somehow... I dunno... perfect, or above, or more blessed, or 'better than' or whatever. I'm just me, struggling through life as best I know how, given the tools I have at hand. And one of those tools is the belief that I am not alone in this fight. --