Sunday, October 4, 2009

On Faith

When I look back on my faith walk thus far, I can remember so much that very nearly destroyed me. I remember feeling so alone sometimes, and so worthless. My experience in Christianity has not been easy & I've had so many reasons & so many chances to just give up & get out, but--somehow--I couldn't.

I still struggle every day to "keep the faith" when there are still so many out there who are so sure that I am not "one of them" & that I cannot share their God with them unless I change everything about myself that they don't like.

I have thought through all these years about how much easier it probably would have been had God made me heterosexual, or had I left their little club once it became evident that there was no place for me in Christianity, or had I never even known about God in the first place. Like any of us humans, I would have preferred a much easier life (faith-wise) than the one I have actually lived, but (as the old saying goes) you have to play the cards that life deals you.

I'm sure that I could have "played my hand" better than I did, but I now know that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know that reason is right now. In the midst of the hurricane, it's hard to think about the light of the sunny day that always comes afterward.

So, while it would be tempting to wish I could wipe away all those memories & all those tears, and while I have not always felt this way, I can now honestly tell you that--as heavy as my burden has been, and as lonely as I have felt in my life--I wouldn't change a thing. Not one. It was part of God's plan for my life, and I can even say now that I am even thankful for how things have turned out in my faith walk.

I'm not saying that my life has been any harder than anyone else's; we all have our own trials & our own burdens. As Olivia Newton-John sang in Grease: Guess mine is not the first heart broken; my eyes are not the first to cry.... When I look back & see all I've endured & when I remember nearly every hurt "the Church" has caused me, I see now how it's all gone to making me more sure of my faith, and more steely in my resolve that I am a child of God, albeit an imperfect, still-hurting child of God. I have had what has felt like many baptisms of fire since my baptism in the water all those years ago, and I know that it is those fires through which God has brought me that allows me to understand that faith is never easy, and true faith can never be taken away; if it is lost, it has been given away.

In so many ways, I have earned my deep faith, but I know that faith is not like a trophy: you don't find it & then place it up on a shelf. Faith is something that becomes a living part of your being & it is something to which you must tend every day, and it is that thing inside the truest part of you that motivates you to keep on going even when you don't feel like you can.

Had the events of my life gone at all differently, and had my walk been a little less rocky, and had I collected any fewer scars on my heart, who knows where I'd be right now? There's no telling, and really, no sense in dwelling on what might have been.

But I can tell you that the freedom I feel today comes from that faith that I just couldn't seem to shake, forged by fire, and earned through a river of tears & a world of pain. Though they toiled mightily to do so, not even the most self-righteous Christian soldiers, Bibles clutched in their hands & raised to the Heavens as the preferred weapons of choice, hearts & eyes filled with the lust of spiritual war-without-end could take my faith or my God from me.

I am not naive in this: they stand constantly at the ready to fight on & on & on, and I know they will always try, but I also know that they will always fail.

No comments: