A Crisis of Faith

There are certain things of which I am certain, and there are many things of which I am not.  Many people are certain what they believe is the truth.  I am not certain they are right.

I am in the midst of a crisis in faith.

I believe in God – the most high, creator of heaven and earth, master orchestrator of our lives and this world.  I believe everything that is, is because He allows it to be.  I believe that all there is to know, is known because He – the source – allows it to be revealed.

I believe that MAN, NOT GOD is fallible.  Many beliefs and traditions of today are rooted in man’s interpretation.  Interpretations are not necessarily truths. This is where it gets messy for me. So my prayer has been for God to lead and guide me towards a greater understanding of HIS TRUTH.

God has made me a scholar.  So it has come as no surprise to me that what He has placed on my heart, in response to my questioning, is a scholarly endeavor.  I question whether this will lead to more questions as opposed to more answers, though I have a feeling that it ultimately doesn’t matter – the pursuit will be fruitful in and of itself.  I just pray for the persistence and discipline to push forward, and for the direction and guidance to let this take shape as it is destined to.  I don’t want to fear where He leads, and I want to be welcoming of the knowledge that is being given to me.

One of the first texts I was led to read talked about Medieval French rabbi & bible scholar Rashi who found many difficulties in the bible – apparent contradictions, flaws in logic, verses out of context and words/phrases/stories repeated for no clear purpose.  Rashi, however, was led to question these contradictions – to wrestle with God like Jacob, bargain like Moses at Mamre, argue with God like Moses at Mt. Sinai, questioning God face-to-face.

I took this as confirmation that I was on the right path.  And so it goes…

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Hurt People, Hurt People

Not many people know how to fight fair.  People have a tendency to lash out, and that comes from a place of hurt.  My tendency to react to a hurt manifests in withdrawing, being cold, and saying hurtful things that I know will return at least a little bit of the sting I’ve felt – even if those words are coated in honey and wrapped up in a pretty bow.

I know how much words hurt, and I make a conscious effort to be deliberate in my speech for that very reason.  But I also know how to be spiteful and deliberately craft a message that stings, purposely touching that raw, exposed wound.

I wrote a letter to my father before my college graduation. I felt extremely justified in writing it.  There were feelings and hurts in that letter that had never been communicated.  But in order to drive my point home, I went for sensitive points that I knew would hurt – namely, “outside of conception there was nothing you have done to support me in getting to this point, so I don’t want you here celebrating my accomplishment as if you did”.

When I wrote it I knew exactly the kind of effect it would have.  I was hurt, and I lashed out in pain.  Instead of claiming my hurt, acknowledging that I was hurting because I didn’t have the pleasure of having my father in my life as part of my support system – I turned it into an attack.  I was hurt, so I hurt.  I could have just as easily have just asked him not to come.  I could have had a conversation about my feelings.  I could have done a lot of things differently.  But I wasn’t acting from a rational place, but from an extremely raw emotional place.  And to be quite honest, I wasn’t interested in preserving the relationship…so I wasn’t concerned about the damage those words would do.

We need to be mindful of the words that we speak to one another, because they cannot be taken back once they’ve been spoken.  A seed of negativity gets planted, and I don’t know if that’s a hurt you ever fully recover from.  That’s not healthy, nor is it conducive to building and nurturing any kind of healthy relationship.

Many don’t know how to be hurt, vulnerable, and angry – feeling and validating all those emotions – yet being able to express them constructively.  The first instinct is to straight to the weapon in your arsenal you know will cause the most damage.  But then what…?  You’re both left damaged and hurting, the battle is over, but the war is far from done.

I know it’s something I’m still working on – being transparent and emotionally available, always tempering my words with love, and learning to fight fair.

i love you…

i love you without knowing how, or when, or from where
i love you simply, without problems or pride:
i love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving
but this,
in which there is no I, or you,
so intimate that you hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Pablo Neruda

SonnetXVII (excerpt)

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Copays and Sick Days

Twice this week I was explicitly reminded of my blessings.

Watching a news story, I was reminded about people who have no sick days that are forced by circumstance to either be a public health menace by going to work and spreading germs, or take unpaid time off…possibly even risking the loss of their job.

This as I was amazed at the fact that my latest time and leave statement showed that I have accumulated over a month in sick time.  I count that a blessing.

Later that week I had a shock at the doctor’s office when they announced that my co-pay had gone up to $40 PER VISIT!  While I did give them a side eye, and make a mental note to check my medical benefits package – I was overwhelmed with gratitude by the fact that I was able to hand over my debit card to pay the fee.  I would have to factor that into my budget, but I wouldn’t have to choose between eating or seeing the doctor.  For that, I’m truly blessed.

I count my blessings, and it’s one of the ways that I choose to maintain a little perspective.  Sometimes we get caught up in the circumstance and busy-ness of the every day, and let the little chances to offer up a praise and thanks for even the smallest blessings pass us by.  We have a tendency to go straight to the negative – murmuring and complaining.

I try instead to take a moment to temper my response by considering the alternative….that does indeed make all the difference.

There is, clearly, a larger conversation about the state of our health care system, and issues of access and equity – all of which I’m interested.  But for the moment I’m just inspired to offer up a prayer, thanking God for my blessings and praying for those that are less fortunate – praying for their protection and for His provision…I believe that also makes all the difference.

Selah

*Selah*-  סֶלָה …

Has to be on of my favorite concepts of all time…the “loudest” most powerful silence ever.

Pause. Reflect. Assess. Soak it all in. Prepare to move forward.

I used to write.  All the time.  About everything.

I’ve been really, really silent, for a really, really long time – in a lot of extremely uncomfortable ways.

I do have, however, extensive soliloquies that only happened in my head.  This is what I believe has happened in my *selah*.

They really want to find a way out, so I am attempting to give them free.

And so a blog is born…

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