Putting Feet to Your Faith –
This morning, in worship service, when one of the staff members went up on stage and gave the announcements she talked about a missions class. She said; “This class will help you put feet to your faith!” To my knowledge, this is the first time I heard this phrase or at least the first time it resonated with me. I liked the idea of beliefs and action coexisting, what I think, say and do being in sync.
Later I reacted to a post from someone on Facebook who’s having a rough couple of weeks. There has been progressing in the recent past but for some reason, the last month or so battles thought won were being fought again. I replied to her post; “I understand and live these “honest and ugly” truths. It’s tough, feeling like you have to start over, but I’m reminded by wisdom and therapy that we’ve grown, have learned/are learning, experienced a new normal and the starting line has been moved. We may not be where we want to be but thankfully are not where we started.”
Even when it seems like our journey is two steps forward and three, maybe five, steps back we are making progress. We ask, no plead, for the faith to keep walking, to put feet to our faith.
In the last few days, I have developed a rash on my left hand. I don’t know where it came from but I only noticed it yesterday on the way to work. It doesn’t itch too bad but my hand is a little swollen. When she came home from work yesterday Beth looked at it and we tried to figure out what I had gotten into. There is, what looks like a bite, near the knuckle on my index finger. I haven’t been near any unusual plants or, as far I know, been bitten by anything. We began treating it last night with an anti-itch, anti-swelling cream and taking a Benadryl. It looks better today and hopefully will continue to disappear.
Since realizing I had the rash I’ve been lost trying to figure out what happened. It seems as if it appeared from nowhere but I know this isn’t the case. Somewhere, somehow I got infected but it doesn’t matter when it comes to treating it and monitoring it.
Wisdom teaches us that we will not always see new challenges and difficulties coming. There are times and seasons when things just appear and we must adjust our lives to it. Illnesses, financial struggles, job loss, people we love enduring suffering. We desire two pieces of knowledge we think will help us deal with these issues. We want to know why and how long. Why, how, did this happen to us and how long will it last before we can get back to normal. Often, however, we don’t have an answer to these questions but they shouldn’t stop us from accepting a new normal, adjusting to the unknown, and continuing to live while we recover.
Upside Down –
Today, I cleaned out our garden boxes in which we grow fruits and veggies during the summer. We are going to recycle the soil and the dried out vines and stalks were placed in the burn barrel. As I was placing some of the soil into my lawn tractor’s trailer I saw spied something light-colored against the dark brown of the dirt. I looked closer, wiping away the soil and discovered it was a Salamander (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamander). At first, I thought it was dead but while removing the rest of the debris it began to move. I held it as gently as I could and took it to another place where there was ample space to find a new home.
Returning to my work I thought about the Salamander and how, like it, there have been times in my life where my whole world was turned upside down. Snuggled in the normal rhythm of everyday life, minding my own business when someone or something turned all I knew, trusted, relied upon on its head and before I knew it, home was neither home nor sweet.
It takes time to get used to the “new” normal. There’s a grieving process when we accept that what once was will never be again…ever. Wisdom tells us that life passes, changes, transitions, grows, dies, moves, is never stagnant. In spite of this, we still take for granted so many people and things which are fragile and destined not to last.
Not the Same
The grief in her eyes was impossible to miss. She had lost someone near and dear to her. One who was young, full of life, seemingly with many years left and then one day he was gone. We spoke in hushed tones almost afraid our usual tones would make this terrible truth more real. “I don’t think life will ever be the same again. Normal seems so far from here. How do I get back?” I looked into her shocked and sorrowful eyes and said; “You don’t. Life, as you knew it to be, is over. There is no going back. In time, with healing, you will learn to live in a new normal.”
There are moments, events, seasons in life which guarantee we will never be the same again. Tragedies, awakenings, epiphanies that change everything. What we held to, put our faith in, who we loved are lost. Our rhythm and sense of normal is disrupted. We long to go back, make everything; ‘as it was,’ hold on to that which seemed solid, lasting but it sifts through our hands like sand. Our desire to return is admirable but futile.The way back has been closed off to us forever.
Finding a new normal takes patience with ourselves. We must grieve not only the loss but the difficult path of newness. Even in these darkest of times there is a light in the distance, a rhythm faintly beating, a new normal waiting to be discovered.