This post runs the risk of being trite and might not even capture what I hope I to convey. On top of that, it's bound to be long, long, long. Oh, you're still here. Well thanks. I've found that I as expressive as I am and as much as I love to share a story, I sort of fizzle when I try to be serious. I'm much better at the ridiculous. I guess its because I don't care if my joke falls flat, but I care so much about the things that stick in my guts as being important. My faith and my relationship with God are the highest on that list and by far the most difficult for me to express. I've always been a person of faith, but the strength of it has waivered at times. I went through a few years when I thought I couldn't "find" God. I know now that I wasn't looking, or at least wasn't looking the right way. I tried to intellectualize that which is beyond comprehension. I don't mean that I think reasoned study and a relationship with God are incompatible, just that you can't get to the latter through the former. My education as a student of literature in a fairly rigorous program taught me that the more complex and difficult the book, the more rewarding it was to unlock. This idea of a puzzle and its solution led me to believe that everything followed suit. Anything simple is limited in what it can offer. The profound has to be interpreted and grappled with. There may be some truth to that, but it falls apart quickly in matters of faith.
Craig and I have been reading from the Bible every night, a little Old Testament and little New Testament. I have never read much of the Bible apart from the readings in church every Sunday, although I knew the stories from Sunday school, etc. The only part that I previously read in its entirety is the four Gospels. That excercise was life changing for me, but that's another story and probably beyond my abilities of communication. It's so simple and yet so many of us neglect it. In no other aspect of my life would I ever claim to believe something I hadn't first read about. As a law student, I would never, ever sign a contract I hadn't read. For some reason, it never hit home for me that the small act of reading my Bible might help me find what I was seeking. I don't believe that God is in my Bible or that I found God. God has always been with me and I have only to count my blessing to know that. When I stopped trying to work and tease out some grand cosmic puzzle, I realized that in matters of God, the most profound and earth moving is the simplest.
I have always been a pray-er. I pray like a protestant, although I'm Catholic through and through. I run around in an all day chit-chat fest with God. When I say I pray like a protestant, I mean that in the most positive way. I think we Catholics can get too reliant on our prayers that someone else has written and lose the voice of our hearts. Like everything I do though, I made prayer my opponent in an intellectual thumb war where I tried to master it. I wanted be the best prayer and do it the "right" way. If I'm self-less in my prayers, then maybe God will answer them. If I prioritize my prayer requests, maybe I can control my life. First of all, this is nuts, the opposite of faithful, and counterproductive. Second, God made me the special brand of crazy that I am. If I don't pray from that place, then I've missed the whole point. Praying this way, through my flaws and selfishness, has made me so much more receptive to hear the answers.
The last two things that are so much simpler than I ever allowed them be is how I express my relationship with God to others and how I feel in that relationship within myself. I've always been an extreme self-editor. If there's a hole to be punched in my opinion, I know it. If there is a counter argument to my own, I can find it and probably one more. The voice in my head is a nag and gets her imaginary panties in quite a bunch from time to time. The fear of being misunderstood or shut down has made me remain mostly private in my faith. No one wants to be percieved as being preachy, but there is a lot of good to be had before that line is crossed. I need all the prayers I can get and won't hesitate any more to ask someone to pray for me. When someone is struggling in their life, it's totally appropriate to offer my own prayers. If it's not well received, then that'll be alright too. I've never heard of someone falling over dead from being rejected. I can be dramatic, so I'm sure that if it could happen, it would've happened to me or I would have at least had a front row seat. Basically, I'm resolved to let it shine. One of our priests at IC says that we should pray that God will be "With Me, In Me, and Through Me." True. True. True.
The second of the two, my internal feelings about my relationship with God, is the easy part. When I was much younger I would look at the priests and deacons at Church and think that they must feel differently than me. I assumed that they lived in a state of constant reflection and seriousness. I doubt very much that that is the case. My growth over the last four years has taught me that real faith bubbles over in joy. It runneth over and keeps rolling down over the counter, and onto the floor, pools up, and then sticks.
I don't know what work is being done in me, only that it is being done. If you've gotten this far, and you know me at all, you know that this is more personal and revealing than I'm accustomed to being. I'm always inspired and touched by other people's stories. That's why I was drawn to blogging. I learn so much from other people's and wanted throw in my own humble two cents. That, and because sometimes Craig wants to watch TV without my running monologue. My inner editor wants me to apologize if you percieved this as preachy or as self-indulgent drivel. For my peace of mind, I'll assume that if you read this far neither was the case. Thanks for reading, friend.