If our time off had stretched much further, I would have thought my retirement had started, and folks forgot to tell me. Well, how did I spend my time off? I have one word. Siestas. It is possible to enjoy a nap or two per day, and still fall fast asleep at bedtime, as well as fiddle around with indoor and outdoor projects and see some progress despite “muchas siestas.” I have aspired to be organized enough times to believe that all does pull together… eventually. Life experience has strengthened my faith. Thankfully, God has been with me through it all.
As a child, I learned about faith through osmosis–my parents, who “walked the walk” and heard about faith via Fr. O’Brien’s sermons. From the pulpit, Father reiterated the following scripture passage, (Matthew 17:20) every year, “Truly, I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
At such a young age, I found that passage confusing. I was accustomed to listening to Latin, but condiment-based words in church? Never. I could only wonder if our priest was talking about the yellow kind, or the brown kind my father liked. Then, my imagination activated, and “zoom,” my mind transported me far from church. What tastes good with mustard? Of course, I started craving a hot dog, and we all know hot dogs taste better at a picnic. Chunky potato salad and wide slices of watermelon are picnic must-haves, too. Maybe we could have a seed-spitting contest. Clearly, my body was in the pew, but my mind, not so much. While my imaginary picnic was wrapping up, “No more watermelon, thank you,” Father’s sermon was also coming to a close. I silently vowed to keep it together during next week’s sermon, hopefully a food-free one!
As an adult, growing my faith has consisted of too-numerous-to-name starts and stops, burro-like willfulness and a whole lot of God-given grace. I have no magic formula to share with anyone seeking to find faith. It is when I began to take responsibility for my choices, allowed myself to weep, prayed, listened to the quiet, and then wrote and sang songs to God that faith found a special place in my heart.
Through the years, as I have met and worked with people, the love I feel from God has flowed to others, and my faith has grown deeper. It is impossible to “run dry” the rich well of joy, love, kindness, acceptance and peace that dwells within us. God has bountifully blessed us with these precious gifts, meant to be abundantly shared.
I hope to long remember what I learned from “Anyway,” a poem written by Saint (Mother) Theresa:
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, You will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, Someone could destroy overnight;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it will never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It has never been between you and them anyway.