Sunday, November 24, 2013

Growing in Faith

Affirmation:  Something wonderful is about to happen.

On Belleruth Naparstek's chemo tape she has a phrase she uses about getting a sensation that something wonderful is about to happen and about how you may have not felt this sensation in quite a while but right now you do.  Have you ever had a sensation like that?  That sense that something marvelous is coming your way?  I wonder if that happens when we are preparing for an event or a trip or maybe a change in our career.  Perhaps, it's that feeling when a loved one and you are to be reunited.  I know a change and new things can also bring with them a feeling of anxiety and maybe we get anxiety and excitement mixed up.  But, when Belleruth describes this marvelous feeling of expectation, I know it; I feel it. I fully recognize it even though I can't remember when I last felt that way and it feels good!

For the past several months I have had a growth in my faith experiences.  As I've shared before I have been "working" on my faith for many years ever since I met my evangelical neighbor, Shaun McLean in Cincinnati, Ohio and when shortly thereafter my father died.  When Shaun showed up at the back gate of my new home she proceeded to become a constant thorn in my faith.  I am so grateful to her for that nudging. She was so certain about her relationship with God and with Jesus Christ and I was a cradle Catholic who didn't feel sure about anything. I didn't envy her but I did find myself questioning, questioning, and questioning even more.  What did I truly believe? 

Let's admit it, the story of Jesus Christ, his birth death and resurrection is quite unbelievable.  It defies natural law.  I for one have had my doubts.  I have not been a compliant subservient faith- filled follower.  I wanted proof.  I'm sure if one searches for proof that the "Good News" is not factual, one will find answers supporting that premise but I chose to go the other way.  I've chosen to seek out reasons to believe.  I have also found that at some point if one is to truly have faith, one must set aside disbelief and just decide to have faith in the mystery.  I decided to believe. 

I've watched movies about the "facts" of His life and ministry.  I've read the bible and listened to lectures and homilies.  But, the reason I believe is because I want to believe.  I want to believe He came to change the world.  He came to teach us to love.  He came to eradicate sin and evil.  He came to show us, to show me unconditional love.  He came to prepare a place for me in the afterworld and to show me that this life is not the end.  This life is simply a transition before the next, before I can finally rest in a place of peace and pure love.  I want to believe this and so I do and once I made up my mind to accept this belief system amazing events have taken place to support my journey.   

My faith journey has led me many places.  It is not just about things related to my church.  I was reminded this week by Sister Judy Hallock one of the women who facilitate A Place for Women to Gather that our lives are interconnected with our faith.  If we are truly faith-filled people we cannot separate our mind, body and spirit.  Every aspect of our lives, every single one of them, is affected by our faith. 

I am on a continual search for a deeper, richer relationship with God.  I want to feel that peace that I believe comes when one connects to spirit but even more importantly when one develops a relationship with a personal God, not just some ethereal concept.  This last week I have been feeling that sense of expectation that I have not felt for a very long time.  Something wonderful is about to be manifested.  I haven't a clue what it is or how it will come or from whom but I can feel it.  The feeling is palatable and I am simply enjoying it and waiting to see what or who appears.

My faith journey this year has taken me to some amazing destinations.  I've shared some of them with you here in this blog but as the holidays approach and the end of the year comes closer, I find myself thinking about all that has taken place.  One of my affirmations is, "When I stay connected to the Divine, miracles occur and without struggle my life is transformed."  I think that's exactly what's been happening.  I don't know why I'm so surprised.  I've never created an affirmation and focused on it where it hasn't worked.  Never! 

Several months ago I discovered a new prayer that I've incorporated into my nightly prayers.  "Come Holy Spirit, fill the heart of Your faithful.  Enkindle in me the fire of Your love."  I found it to be a comforting prayer and truly the desire of my heart.  I think the Holy Spirit has accepted my invitation.  I'm always a little curious about where my faith journey will take me.  It shouldn't surprise me that it has brought me further into the fold of the Catholic Church.  I've gone off looking for alternatives many times but I'm always led back to the church of my birth.  Certainly, I have kept an open acceptance of other modalities. I've studied Reiki.  I practice yoga and I love the insights afforded me with the Enneagram.  I facilitate Artist Way programs and have attended many mediation sessions with leaders of different faiths.  I read many different books about different spiritual concepts.  All of these experiences have led me to a deeper faith and a greater awareness of a personal god. 

This year, however, has brought with it the additional gift of several new female friends who are practicing Catholics and it has been a wonderful, heartwarming experience.  We certainly are not all in the "same place" in our faith journey but there's no judgment.  We simply are accepting of our different stages, accepting and yet still supportive. There are many studies showing the healing qualities associated with belonging to a support group.  I feel like I've discovered a gift with the friendship of these women, the gift of being supported in my faith journey and I am grateful that this new community has added to this feeling that something wonderful is about to happen.  Now, there's an affirmation I can focus on and wait for it to come to fruition, "Something wonderful is about to happen."  The really cool part of this affirmation is I have discovered that that Something Wonderful is having this feeling of blessed expectation and that that in itself is just marvelous.

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