Street level Faith


by Rev. Ione Grover

Who is a retired United Church minister living in St. Marys

“Faith is like Wi-Fi. It is invisible but it has the power to connect you with what you need”. I read this quote on the Internet. I don’t know who said it but it captures, for me, the essence of what faith is. Faith is not something static that carries you along constantly through life without any effort on your part. In order to connect with the Internet, I have to turn on my computer and go through a series of actions. The same is true of my faith – I need to plug into it. Sometimes it is fairly easy but at other times I need to be intentional and spend quiet time waiting for some kind of answer that isn’t readily available to my everyday consciousness.

All of us go through days when life doesn’t go the way we would like. Winter is dragging on far too long. We may be feeling tired, grumpy or bored. Our friends or family may be going through changes that affect us but we can do little about it but just be observers and support them. Our cars or appliances may break down and call for an infusion of cash. It is not always the big hurdles in life that test our faith but the everyday, garden variety problems that seem to have the power of giving us a case of the “blahs.” How can we tap into a faith that can steady us through these minor fluctuations in our wellbeing?

Although the computer metaphor isn’t perfect, it does suggest that if we want to elevate our mood, it helps if we can tune into a higher frequency. I do this in a very simple way – by sitting quietly and becoming aware of my breathing and perhaps repeating a sacred word. When I was in the winter doldrums the other day, I did that and what came to me were the words “This too shall pass.” I have lived long enough to know that nothing lasts forever, whether good or bad. I have only to wait and it will disappear or change. I look out the window at the snow flurries (not again!) and the words of Shelly’s famous poem come to mind: “If Winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Winter here stands for all the disenchantment we humans suffer from followed by the optimism that comes from spring and new life. Actually, I have found that I never really know what is good or bad until well after the fact. We are often too quick to put a positive or negative spin on events.

Sometimes when I am worried about something, I ask the question “if I had a week or a day to live, would this problem be worth worrying about?” I always come up with a negative answer. Perhaps there is a little kid in all of us that whines when we don’t get our own way. I try to hide this part of me and cover it over with a more mature persona. The poet, Rainer Marie Rilke said “Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves”. We all have many unsolved problems and we are all unfinished. I am certain that God loves our unfinished selves and delights in us as we creatively unfold toward the greater truth of who we are.

May we learn to love all that is unfinished in us, the way God does!

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