“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Oh geez louise. If there is a mistake to be made lately, I am making it. The struggles are real. I’m trying to comfort myself by reminding myself, ‘this too shall pass’, ‘in everything there is a lesson to be learned’, ‘find the value’ and ‘God’s got me’. Truthfully…I wonder if these things are true. What if this is as good as it gets and nothing is going to ‘pass’? How come I keep getting the same lessons, what am I missing? Am I figuring out who I have always been or am I living out the years I never got to live out (adolescence)?
I bet parenting me is much like parenting a wild 17 year old who is determined to find her own way without undertaking any advisement. So be it, I guess. It’s where I am and I am so entirely sick of fighting with myself that I’m trying to just be. Be me. The challenge…I’m not entirely sure who I am. One day I’m full of maturity, light and goodness…the next day I am determined to be as naughty as can be, wanting nothing or no one to constrain my freedom. But you see…I’m not even sure what freedom means to me.
Forgive my scatteredness, and be thankful I took time to write in my journal before this post in order to ‘sort’ my everrunning thoughts.
I spent time with a fabulous new friend last night, who happens among other several things to be an atheist. I am very much a lover of Jesus and a hater of rules, and I greatly enjoy discussions with those of different belief systems. As long as we can agree to disagree, I find great value in hearing another’s perspective and in sharing mine. I am open to both their story and to telling mine. We are all connected, there is value in each of our stories. This is why I have difficulty when someone is closed to these interactions. Like…what’ so scary about hearing another person’s view? There’s no need to have a change of heart or mind just because there is a different perspective and if a change results…whatever.
I also have a dear, dear friend who happens to be more devoted to his Catholicism than anyone Catholic person I’ve ever known. We have strikingly different views and we’ve had some terrifically difficult conversations. That said, I have the utmost respect for his beliefs and I feel valued when I share with him. I am thankful for that give and take.
On the same token, another one of my dearest friends is an atheist. It’s the same kind of give and take in our relationship and we actually learn a lot from our open heartedness toward each other. We ask each other super tough questions and continue to challenge one another to grow through these fittings together of our puzzles. I guess I can surmise from this that when a person is valued over the need to be right, a very different relationship emerges.
Furthermore, I have many friends who don’t fall into an extreme end of the spectrum but somewhere in the middle. They might be sure of their faith, they may be doubting and searching or they might just be numb and oblivious. There isn’t one of them that doesn’t offer value to my life with where they are and I hope I do the same for them.
So…back to last night with my new friend…. I was very curious about their reasons they hold so tight to their beliefs. They shared and so much of it made complete logical sense to me. During our conversation, I tried to share just the little bit that I could about my faith. It was hard. I am deeply searching and trying to understand the foundations of my beliefs. The faith part is so much easier for me to share. Just like my own life, I’m so much more assured of how to share my feelings than my thoughts, and as a Christian, my feelings are more cemented and easier to share than my logic.
I explained that it was exceptionally difficult for me to understand how I was alive. I made it through an open heart surgery at 9 months of age that was supposed to be done in two parts. As I understand it, they came out in the middle of my first surgery and told my parents that they had to do the rest then or I would ‘be a vegetable’. My Momma tells me that this was the first time she really knew she had faith because she never doubted that I wouldn’t be just fine.
To give a little picture of the weight of the circumstances, I was more tubes than baby, and was one of the youngest babies to ever have this complete correction at such a young age. It was a significant deal. The doctors told my family it was a 50/50 chance of success but not doing it would mean bad things. They did it and I’m obviously here to tell about it. So, why, oh why are there babies with a lesser degree of the same defect that die today still? Why am I alive? Why doesn’t everyone get their miracle?
Then…a pretty healthy life. Fast forward to that big ole stroke when I was 37. That one that ‘should’ve killed me’ and that one where I had to learn to walk again…like an infant. Again…why am I here? So many are not.
So…my new friend asks me what kind of God would let little bitty babies die and me live? An extremely fair question and one I have often wrestled with. Tonight, I wrestle extra hard because the best answer I have is that I’m not God and I have to trust that He has a panoramic view and I have a snapshot. Sometimes I believe this a thousand times over, other times, I doubt everything.
I sure don’t know why God has me here and I’m really wondering how my life is one he’d be proud of right now. I mess up. Alot and quite intentionally. I can be obstinate and determined to create my own path, hurting others along the way of my learning. I can be unfocused and lackadaisical. I am a bundle of pure messiness. It is what it is. I am so deeply grateful for every moment.
A bit weary and overwhelmed, I am searching too often in others and not often enough in my own heart. It’s all okay. I’ve finally found peace with trusting that God not only accepts my doubts, He welcomes them. For when I doubt, I am searching for his majesty when I am so small. I am searching for His peace amidst my chaos.
I am struggling, 100% with the dawning of these new lights…and that’s perfectly okay.