Street Level Faith

by Rev. Ione Grover Who is a retired United Church minister living in St. Marys

by Rev. Ione Grover
Who is a retired United Church minister living in St. Marys


I am discovering the wonders of gaining access to many wonderful, wise teachers through taking online courses. The nice thing is you don’t have to travel but can listen and learn from the comfort of your own home. This source provides me with many new insights or more accurately it reminds me of things that I already know but had forgotten. Did you know that everyone is a genius? Before you make a face as I did, genius is being defined in a different way. It is not just someone who is very smart. The ancient Romans considered genius to be the individual spirit of each person, the part of us that is with us at birth but is realized as we develop our potential. It is the voice of our own originality. There is only one of us in the world and there never has been or ever will be another person just like us.

That is rather amazing when you come to think about it, that each of us has been divinely created to be one of a kind and this uniqueness is the gift that we are meant to bring into the world. The only problem is that most of us were never encouraged to be original. We were often trained to toe the line. It is this conformity that blocks our genius from flowering. Instead of celebrating our oddness, we were taught to blend in and be like everybody else. I am not suggesting that total non-conformity is a good thing either but a balance between the two would, I believe, lead to more wholeness. We don’t want to be lonely outsiders, but if we try to be like everybody else, we miss the joy of living from our own creative giftedness. Genius doesn’t have to be a big thing. We can be genius parents or gardeners or carpenters.

To get at what our particular gift is, it helps if you think back to what your favourite activities were as a child. I recall being a daydreamer and playing imaginative games usually with one other child. This was definitely not encouraged by my teachers or parents. There is also a direct link between our genius and our childhood wound. For me, the wound came about from being very shy at school which made me an observer while at the same time being sensitive to the pain of others. These early tendencies found expression later through writing and encouraging others to bring out their gifts.

It takes a great deal of faith to have the courage to bring forth our special genius. Often we don’t choose it – it chooses us. We may not accept the gift or we may diminish it and feel it is unimportant. Often there is a fear of failure or that others will reject us for being different. For a variety of reasons, many of us go through life never fully expressing our deep creative spirit. To access our genius means spending some quiet time listening deeply to the inner voice of our soul. Since we are moving into unknown territory, it also means taking a risk.

I love Tagore’s definition of faith. “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” This is the kind of faith we need to bring out our God-given gift in service to the world. It is never too late to do this.

May we each have the courage to manifest the gifts that God has given us!

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