Gotta Have Faith

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1

When I was 10 I remember wondering what faith was, other than this nebulous thing no one could really quite explain when I asked about it. Either that or I got…

“Faith just is.” or “You either got it or you don’t.”

And I wasn’t sure if I had it, which is why I asked in the first place. I wasn’t stupid. I understood a lot about how the world worked. The problem was that the world doesn’t value faith. It values the solid, the concrete, what can be seen with our eyes.

I simply had no precedent for believing in the unseen.

And don’t tell my mom I was on the fence about god then too. Which is, of course, where it all came from in the first place. Belief in god presupposed you had faith, that even if you couldn’t see the divine being, he was indeed still up there sitting high and judging low. Dispensing judgement or grace, or some haunting combination of the two.

But that was so far removed from what I knew in my everyday life. That was so fanciful it seemed far-fetched. It seemed like the absolute antithesis of everything I saw and learned of in school. Continue reading “Gotta Have Faith”

The God Box

“You are not upset that we have different boxes. You are upset because my box does not match yours.” ~Rob Lester Too often we place God in a box, whether it’s a box of our own making or one belonging to someone else that we’ve co-opted for our own designs. We lift up the flaps, … Continue reading The God Box

“Oh My God.”

“Oh my god,” she said, and to her it meant absolutely nothing. It was a placeholder, another way of saying “What?” in that sarcastic tone I know she means when she pretends to be innocent. But she knows what she’s doing and saying. She knows that I’m not pleased when I put my hands on … Continue reading “Oh My God.”

Fountain of Youth

FOUNTAIN-OF-YOUTH1The explorer Ponce de Leon was desperate to find a land of riches and the mystical “fountain of youth” when he landed in Florida in the early part of the fourteenth century. It was apparently a get rich quick scheme that had much more to do with finding gold and precious jewels than in locating the magical fountain that was said to reverse the aging process. In the Bible there is a similar fountain mentioned, in a place called Bethesda, where the sick and infirm came to touch the waters and be healed. Does it in fact exist in this day and age? I believe so.

First off, before you think I’m some kind of kook, I’ll explain. I don’t actually think there’s a basin with water in it that will bring back your youth. I don’t believe in magic of that kind, and neither, I think, did Ponce de Leon, or Hernando de Soto after him. I think they were fascinated by the idea of something otherworldly that could make them live forever, but aren’t we all? It’s one of the reasons I think we are so into vampires, zombies and the like right now. Just look at television shows, books, and movies.

Is that the answer? As a writer I am very sensitive to the idea of words being that source of everlasting youth. When I go back into my earlier writings I am transported back in time, and to an extent all readers are when they delve into literature from when they were young. The body secretes a hormone that emerges when those memories are triggered, creating a sense of release, not unlike letting out that breath that you were holding, like coming home and relaxing. The same is true of anything that triggers those memories, in essence bringing each person back to the time of his/her youth.

I believe it’s more than that, though. Continue reading “Fountain of Youth”

Another Version of God

crying_out“You’re a god, and I am not, and I just thought that you would know.” -Vertical Horizon

There are some days when I strongly believe in a higher power causing the sun to rise in the East and set in the West, a being stronger than us who gives us free will but also pulls the strings when necessary, an iconoclast who by his very nature defies his own existence, who is revered by many but truly loved by few. Lip service, that’s what we usually pay to such a god, and we do it in prayer, sometimes down on our knees, sometimes standing up, sometimes over Skype with our grandmother who is in the home but we choose not to visit. And she believes in such a god who sits high and judges low because so did her grandmother who has been gone lo these many years, a woman who took religion as seriously as she did her shaving rituals.

Then there are days when I honestly don’t see how there can be a benevolent god in a world so full of misery and devastation, when good people die daily and bad people live to be a hundred. Then I stop myself because are there really good people and bad people? There are just people who do bad things, right? And sometimes those same people also do good things, but of course that’s when no one is paying attention. What kind of a god lets things happen, even in the name of free will, that could have been easily prevented? Some days I sit high up in my chair and judge low, feeling like maybe I’m that god I’ve been doubting all along, that maybe being made in his image means I’m upholding an image that is just that, an image, a mirage, a picture in my head that is shared by many who also doubt. Continue reading “Another Version of God”