Faith

Posted: December 8, 2009 in Headspace

Here in Arizona the sunrise has been at about 7:20, and sunset has been at about 5:20. If we were living in Maine, sunrise would be at 7:02, and sunset would be at 4:00 (I got this info from here). For some reason, though, to my mind I’m feeling the absence of light more significantly while living here, in this particular year, than I ever did during the long winters in Maine.

It’s not difficult to draw a direct correlation to the absence of light in my psyche.

Life just seems dark in general, even when I’m sitting in a brightly lit room or standing in direct sunlight. It’s like I can’t absorb it, can’t open my eyes wide enough to let it in. It has been a struggle, my friends. To just keep going, to take things day by day, to manage the things that are in my control, and to let those things go that are not in my control. I’m not experiencing life, so much as I’m a passenger in my own mind, observing in a detached way everything that goes on beyond the narrowing field of my diminishing peripheral vision.

It has been a struggle to maintain optimism, to kindle hope for the future, and to believe in the knowledge that “everything will be okay in the end.” (“If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”) I know I’m not alone in experiencing this condition, this sense of hopelessness. Knowing I’m not alone doesn’t make me feel any less lonely, though. Even with my loving and wonderful husband, and the shared stresses that we support one another in – in the end, we’re solitary in our own minds while trying to deal with the crap that life keeps dishing out.

I find myself turning to one of my Grandmother’s favorite scriptures, which also happens to be a running theme in a series of books that I’ve read and am re-reading. “Philippians 4:13, for Pete’s sake!” Which is, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” You all know me, I’m not a Bible thumper by any stretch of the imagination. But I do have a deep and abiding belief in God that has somehow survived the complete and total disenchantment that I have with religion in general.

Somehow, over a stretch of time whose beginning escapes me, I forgot that one cannot (or at least, should not) believe in God, without having faith in God. My heart has been closed off to that concept for quite some time, now. I’m a self-sufficient person, and the thought that I should give up control of every little aspect of my life that I’m dissatisfied with, well, that just seems counter-intuitive. How can I change it, if I don’t control it, after all? Haven’t I nodded my head in agreement at the statement, while secretly thinking on the inside that those folks who just “cast their burdens unto the Lord”, that they’re, well, kind of lazy? Or deluded?

And yet… and yet.

There is something in my heart – something beyond my logical and pragmatic nature – that is full and happy and safe in the knowledge that God is real and He is just waiting for me to let go. I’ve known He was there all along, like the air that surrounds us, but I’ve been holding my breath like a petulant child pitching a fit because I’m not getting my way. I need to breathe deep, trust that He provides, and that He will guide my life in the direction it needs to go. I may not always understand it, I may not always agree with it, and His movement in my day to day life may not be obvious to me. But what is faith, if not trust in those things that we do not understand?

I’m a little nervous to click on “publish”, to be honest. Talking about God makes me feel more vulnerable than just about any other subject I could touch upon. I hope you all take this post in the manner it was intended, which is to give a little hope and remind us that there are greater things out there than what revolves around us in our own little lives. Take from it what you will – as for me, well, I’m just trying to open up my heart and let a little light in.

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Comments
  1. Taoist Biker says:

    I’m likewise more than a little nervous to hit “submit comment,” here, because of my own vulnerabilities and those of people I care about. But what the hell, huh?

    First and foremost, no, milady, you are not alone in feeling that sense of hopelessness and directionlessness. And you’re not alone in finding yourself, when the chips are down, fighting your own battle within your head despite your best efforts and those of the people who love you.

    I’ve struggled for most of my adult life to define what it is I believe, and frankly although a few pawns were taken early, I think most of that game has yet to be played. Ultimately, though, whether we call it God or Yahweh or Buddha or the Tao or the Great Pumpkin I think the best parts of each of us yearn to believe in and be a part of something larger than ourselves.

    • Tiffany says:

      “…The Great Pumpkin…” Har!

      I’ve watched a ton of those Discovery Channel and History Channel shows, “disproving” the Bible and “proving” that mankind was started by a race of aliens, etc. etc. ad nausium. I know all of the Biblical stories are retellings of similar stories of many religions and races… so, does that prove that there is NO God, or does that prove that there IS? I prefer the latter – fables are usually based in truth, after all.

  2. crisitunity says:

    This feeling you describe, of being a spectator of a life that’s rushing by and not currently making you all that happy, is very, very similar to how I’m feeling right now.

    During most of October when I was on this coast, I passed a church sign on my way to work that said BE PATIENT – WAIT ON THE LORD. I really liked this, and I usually think most of the church signs (that aren’t deliberately punny) are sort of annoying. This one, though, gave me solace. He’s there to help, after all. We just have to be patient.

    • Tiffany says:

      You’re right, usually church signs *are* painfully “punny”. But that is a good one. Patience, I’m afraid, is a virtue I need to work on. And one that my husband has given up on working on, altogether!

  3. Calvin says:

    “We just have to be patient” is probably the hardest part of life for me (us).
    Like you said I think we all feel like life is rushing by and there just won’t be enough time for everything. And in that life there are the things we can control and then there is that stuff we cannot.
    For me the stuff I can control is usually the good things or at least just normal day to day stuff. The stuff that I cannot control I tend to lump in one big basket of bad things and wonder Oh Great Pumpkin why me?
    Right now it feels like we just got moved two steps back, But I think everything happens for a reason so we take the experience and move forward with eyes open wider than before.

    I think it’s just our nature to look toward or question faith when we feel down… we should remember to focus as strongly during the good times.
    We just need to take control of our direction and get after it. And it could be worse we could be 80 something and feel this way.
    So relax fall back you shall be caught, and if not it probably won’t hurt that much 🙂

    P.S. I will try to be a ray of sunshine in your eye sockets!

  4. iamheatherjo says:

    “So relax fall back you shall be caught, and if not it probably won’t hurt that much”

    Bumbles bounce!

    So do we. 😉

  5. Shelli says:

    *hugs* hun, I know the feeling all too well. For me, I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It’s terrible this time of year! I feel exactly the way you feel, and it usually starts to ease up after the time changes back in the spring.

    You can also try using those artificial sun lamps and a high dose of Vitamin D (ask a doc or pharmacist to tell you which one and how much). And lots and lots of physical contact (ya hear that Bill? 😉 ). Fixing the physical aspect of it will definitely help with the mental aspect. I’m right here with ya, if you need to vent! 🙂

    • Tiffany says:

      I guess an Arizonan can still suffer from SAD even though we have plenty of sunlight and no snow, eh? I do need to get back on the vitamins bandwagon – I had Vitamin D in there and here I’m not taking it just when I need it the most! Bill appreciates your advice, by the way… heh.

  6. Jeanette says:

    I can’t really add to what you said or what your commentors said. I can only say that you pretty much summed up what I have been feeling these last few years. Even thought our hard times are past us (for the moment) I lost my faith that God takes care of us. I believe in his existence, and I hope for something better when we leave this world, but I have been feeling like we were created and then just put here to fend for ourselves, if you know what I mean. I am going to print out your post and keep it with me for a while. I found it to be inspiring. Thanks.

    • Tiffany says:

      I’m so glad I could provide you with some inspiration. Your comment has done the same for me. It’s one of the great blessings of a blog with a lovely and sympathetic readership – I always know I’m not alone.

  7. Kimmothy says:

    I think you’re absolutely right you’re not alone with the feeling of hopelessness right now; 2009 has kicked a lot of people square in the ass. But you’re also right about that not really helping internally either – you expressed exactly how I’ve been feeling.
    I’m about as religiously schizo as a person can get (a Jew who sometimes attends a Southern Baptist church?) but lately I’ve been, I wouldn’t so much as call it *praying*, but definitely conversing with God a little bit. And no matter what I’m talking about, I always try to include, “Not my will, Yours.” Helps me keep perspective and right now I’m all about keeping perspective.

    • Tiffany says:

      Pray the prayer that never fails: “Thy will be done.” That’s the hard part about letting go, and letting whatever happens, happen. There’s some sort of lesson, I’m sure, in the struggles that Bill and I have been experiencing in the past six months. It’s not our place, I guess, to question whether or not those lessons were actually REQUIRED, but I guess sometimes God has to yell pretty loud to get our attention.

  8. jadesymb says:

    It does read like SAD to me too….
    And I know a higher power exists. I have faith, but like you, it’s in a none normal way. 🙂

    **HUGS**

  9. […] Leave a comment Go to comments Topic the First: You guys are awesome. Seriously, I have the most supportive, the most sympathetic, the most wonderful readers in All The Land. If I could afford the airfare, […]

  10. Amanda says:

    **Hugs**. If you need another “ear”, let me know 🙂

  11. iamheatherjo says:

    I thought of you when I told someone earlier today that I think I might have actually “overdosed on sunshine when I lived out west”. I know that seems so stupid to some people (not you) but I really did. The snow kept me from even considring a move back home for so long and now it’s just a petty annoyance since I’ve been because I’ve been so much happier. I hadn’t realized how miserable I was there in AZ and I would have stayed had the job thing not happend and whatever other forces that seemed intent on bringing me back home.

    • Tiffany says:

      OH no, I totally, totally get it. I know that when we get out of Arizona, we’ll be so much happier that snow will never get us down the way This State does!

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