On God and Life

Last night was a horrible night of no rest. I slept on the couch in a sleeping bag because the bed just wasn't cutting it... turns out the couch didn't do much better. Maybe I was nervous about the talk I had to give this morning? I woke up so that I could be at the church by 6:30. There is this small group that meets every other Wednesday morning called "Faith To Go". They eat breakfast, drink coffee and meet with someone from the congregation for an hour. It's a really good idea to get to know the people who make up the parish, and it is my understanding that it fuels their mid-week spiritual slump to consider the trials and faith transformations of others. How do we, as Christians, allow our vocation and day to day business to fit into the network of God's plan? It's a really small group, but it could be bigger. Yes, 6:30 is early, but in the long run, it seems as though these people have truly benefitted from hearing other's stories.

So this morning I woke up with the birds because it was my turn to talk about personal stuff. My relationship with... God I guess, and how I got to be where I am. There is a lot to talk about. Emotionally, I feel as though I have done so much growing up in the past five or six years. I guess that is college and the great big beyond. But there is so much to be said about those few years. Seriously... that is nearly my entire relationship with Chris, college, depression, traveling, mending familial relationships, choosing a profession and working through that vocation. So much has happened that has been transformative... I didn't know where to begin.

It started with an introduction to my life: Siblings, parents, a million extended family members (there are four new babies to meet... in a matter of eight months! Holy shit my family knows how to expand!), education, Catholic roots... and the inevitable denial of all of those things as a teen and young adult. But the story, my story, grew into such an incredible cyclical journey back to those things. I talked about how much of that internal push to return home was exacerbated by Chris' entry into the Seminary. I talked about my initial resentment. I mean... I had agreed to marry him and he was a business man. We were going to be silly rich because he is such a smooth talker and people like him. I knew it we would be fine. Ha! Life is just hilarious sometimes. Two weeks later he expressed the undeniable tug he felt towards becoming a leader of faith. I said sure, but inside I was bitter. Not towards him, but towards a God that could pull the man that I love away from me and our inevitable future family. I know how busy Pastors are. I know that they are always on call because people are always sick or dying or getting married or being born or fighting or alone and needing someone to be with them. But I need to be with him, too. I didn't want to share him at. all. And so I supported Chris, but not God. Fast forward three years, and I can say that it would be so wrong of me not to share him. He has such a gift... a talent for preaching and sharing the difficult messages of true altruism and devotion to something that cannot be seen or heard. How can I deny that, and keep such an amazing and intelligent man to myself? That is not fair. And so I share him with the world. Perhaps it is some innate fear of the wrath of God (there is that good old Catholic guilt). Who am I to deny His message and call to Chris? Who am I to say that this is not the life for us? But I am not fully committed. I would be the first to point out the holes in my own faith. And I did so this morning.

We talked about how I would rather stare at the babies in the pews in front of me than listen to the sermon. We talked about how I thought of it as a sort of a joke when Chris went to Seminary... something I don't even know if I told him. We talked about how I have a hard time trusting a God who is so quiet in my life, whose messages to me are so hidden they may as well have been written with water on pavement three days before I reached them. We talked about how frustrating is is to have the gift of making beautiful things with my hands, and yet how superficial and excessive art is. How do I help others when I am so concerned with manipulating materials for my own emotional and financial gain? Where is the work of God in that? I expressed our exasperation at the thought of working for God, honestly, and what that could mean for us financially and for our family and the limited time we might have together. Sometimes it makes me angry.

But we also talked about how blindly sitting in a pew in the back of church every Sunday for a year straight has filled a void I didn't know existed until it began to feel full. We talked about how I have learned to "let go and let God" (and can I just say that for the record, I hate faith jargon... always have, always will... but sometimes it really fits the bill).  We talked bout how I am well suited to fulfill a tough mission, and about how they, this morning's listeners, see Chris and I going far with the gifts we have received. When I hear these sentiments and evaluate how far I have come in the past few years I can see that. But an uphill climb is never an easy one. The thought of being a whole Christian is exhausting. I am not external in the little faith that I have. It is personal, quiet and within. I am still embarrassed when approached about it because I have so little faith... and am married to a man who has so much. How does that work? I am afraid that people will not understand how I can, now, so fully support Chris and yet so intensely scrutinize the God that has put us on this path. My fear of people's misunderstanding has lead to some intense judgements. I am so human sometimes.

But this morning's talk was good. It has given me a lot to chew on today. Perhaps it was good to verbally exercise some of the insecurities I have about my own faith journey... something that both comes to light and is denied several times each day. These people have established a good thing in this early morning fellowship.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your openness and vulnerability in this post. Your doubts, questions, exasperations, etc. are so familiar - things that I've thought or felt even at my own call.

    And sometimes, when we think we're not gifted for something, it's that very thing that turns out to really inspire or affect others. For example, maybe your solid support and quiet faith are helping Chris use his gifts... Supportive spouses are amazing gifts :-)

    You're in my thoughts and prayers! Miss you!