Use it.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bev is all of 4' 11".  
She's about 50 years my senior and barely comes up to my shoulders but has 10 times more energy and passion than I.  Enough to light this town, for sure.
I don't see my own grandmother enough, but I can see Bev's house from my front stoop and in my mind I've adopted her as such.
Her husband passed away about a year ago and she lives alone in the same house she's been in for decades, where she raised five boys and one girl and she knows everything about everyone within a twenty mile radius.
She goes to Anytime Fitness everyday and walks on the treadmill, goes to 5:30 mass every night at the local Catholic church.
She is close, personal friends with the priests and sisters of the congregation and seems, I believe, to have a direct line to God Himself.
She often takes evening walks past our house and rarely says "Hi," but rather yells from the street to me if I'm out in the yard.
"WELL!  There she is!  Just SLAVIN' away!"  (I'm usually doing yard work.)
And she laughs and her little head of grey curls comes bobbing over and before I know it we've been standing for an hour chatting on the boulevard.

She is an endless source of history, stories, advice.  I just adore her and could listen to her talk forever about God, her grown children, grandchildren, the history of our neighborhood, her marriage, life without her husband. . .

And God often comes up in our conversations.  I mentioned she's an avid church-goer with a complimenting faith the size of Texas.  And she tells me often how all her friends are dying and every other day she's at another funeralShe says, "Thank goodness for the Big Man."  As she points to the clouds.  "I love the guy.  Don't know where I'd be without him.  With all my friends dying and stuff."

She was recently being treated for some lingering neck pain from a fall down her stairs awhile back and her "handsome" young doc, says, "Bev?  Despite your age?  You're strong, in wonderful shape.  I can write you a prescription for these pain meds, but I don't want to.  This is nasty stuff with terrible long-term effects.  Can you get by with Advil?  Ibuprofen?"  
She wasn't happy to hear this, but respected his honesty and forthrightness in helping to keep her mind sharp and her body moving and healing naturally on its own.

A nurse came in shortly after and said, "I know what he suggested."
"Yes."  replied Bev.  "And it's crap."
The nurse smiles.  "Trust him.  He's a good doctor and knows what's right to keep you going." 
"Yeah, I suppose," says Bev.
"And I also see here that you're Catholic."  The nurse says as she taps on Bev's patient chart.
"Yeah?  So?  Bev replies.
"Use it."  The nurse says, as she walks out of the room.

More and more people I'm finding in recent days,
are so HUNGRY for faith.
Hungry for FAITH.
Not "religion." 
They, much like myself, have stopped attending the parish's of our upbringing, maybe have abandoned the idea of God all together, for many different reasons.  

For me, it felt old and stale.  Seriously and dangerously lacking acceptance and tolerance of ALL humans, relationships, beliefs and avenues to God.

I also learned my faith was not really a faith at allBut a weak foundation of blame, judgment and righteousness and FAR too much reliance on my own ego to see me through, rather than something greater, or God.
These fellow "seekers" (myself included,) and thirst for self-inquiry and truth. . .we don't care how "faith" and "worship" looks, how it's presented, if there are pews or an altar.  

Nor feel the need for strict traditions or rigid guidelines to follow to be "assured a place in heaven."

We just want to be seen.  Heard.  Loved.  Accepted as we are, without judgment.  WHILE WE WALK THIS THIS SIDE OF LIFE.

Seeking to not necessarily feel happy, but feel HUMAN.  Feel WHOLE.  Feel PRESENT in what is and EVENTUALLY, God-willing, be able to give that back to others with honest and authentic compassion.

It is, for many, the beginning of a beautiful, life-changing journey.
But is often lonely, terrifying, full of doubt and of course judgment by others.
To leave behind the ideals of perfection for authenticity and uniqueness, to leave familiarity and comfort for a deeper and more mystical understanding of life?  A more mature form of spirituality?
Not so easy to do.

There arrives this sort of sense, often by way of tragedy, loss or your own mistakes as a flawed human, that you 

#1.  Don't want to do this alone nor can handle the strain from having to move through this life by your own inner strength, fortitude and perseverance.  And 

#2.  Realize you DON'T have to do it alone.

Oh man, if you get to experience this?  Despite how it arrives 


When you are brought to your knees from loss, grief, addiction, fear, illness?
Will, inner strength, fortitude, perseverance, will only get you so far.   
When you "come to the end of yourself," as one of my favorite author's and podcasters Rob Bell says, "when you cry out for wisdom, strength and your bloated ego is finally deflated?"  You have no other choice 

If like me, you land in a place where you are beyond desperate and know there is nothing left to do, but either let go or end it all yourself?  You can cry out.  And. . .

In comes God.

And once you have found a new church, a new community, a new path of praise and gratitude for life, despite it's many trials, I've also learned, it's not a one time, done deal of letting go.  

It is a CONSTANT, DAILY practice of surrendering what you can't control and allowing things to come to fruition in their own good time, or GOD's timing.  

Sweet Lord, how anxiety-inducing it has been me to just go with things without a plan, without control, without a way out and let the worst come if it wants.
But with God?  With FAITH?
You CAN do it.

Use it.  USE your faith.
Or start looking for it if you've lost it.
It's there waiting for you when you're open and ready for it.



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