Shalimamma, an unbeliever?!
Yeah, that’s right. I may as well cut to the chase. I’m a natural-born skeptic, a Thomas (before he became a saint), a question-asker (is that a word?), a challenger to any and all “boxes” people want to assign me to, which seem logical and easy, but equally seem impossible to confine me…. I, like Peter (before he became a saint), am all “I will DIE for you, Lord!!!” and next thing you know I’m sitting with some random chick at the fire dropping swear words that make F bombs look like preschool terms, because I don’t even want to be identified with God whatsoever… you know, after I broadcast to everyone that Jesus is the actual Messiah… and then I run off into the dark night and sob my eyes out.
Yeah, I’m a mess. Faith-wise and otherwise.
And I’ve got absolutely nothing to brag about except that God Himself hasn’t given up on me.
He might be smirking or rolling His eyes or downright laughing… but He hasn’t given up on me. Perhaps He knows that even though I’m not the Christian of all Christians, and I sin while side-eyeing icons, that deep down I just love Him. And I don’t even know why exactly. It’s not like He appeared in all His glory to me and explained stuff, it’s not like He gave me all these advantages everyone else seems to have, it’s not like I wasn’t born with a ton of weaknesses that should have caused my death already from either dumb choices in my youth or the principal of the Survival of the Fittest. Heck, it’s amazing I wasn’t killed by that brutal dodge ball in my face when I couldn’t even see clearly (because of blindness) and equally brutal Phys Ed folks were more like angry rejects from military boot camp than people who had a heart for children, especially artist kids like me who were never going to be the MVP unless the sport was “who can make friends the fastest.” Nope…. I was not born with a natural worldly advantage…
But neither were my parents, or their parents, or many people… and yet, here we are… still relentlessly chasing after God and trying to love our neighbor.
My unbelief? That’s when I am just so sick of the struggle that I can’t even find words to pray. Well, not nice words, anyway… more like internal yelling and a feeling like Jesus’ nap on the boat seems to be more like a ten year deep sleep than an actual short nap. I even start to sort of “boycott” God, which is a joke, because I’m only hurting myself when I do that.
But He, and His love, are relentless… it may seem like He’s quiet and has other more important things to do like solve world peace, but He doesn’t let me go, even if I’m kicking and screaming. And I’ve been kicking and screaming with certain serious situations for over ten years.
And yet, He finds a way to reach me. People whom I would least expect to notice me, let alone care, reach out, call, give, love……. and I am humbled.
I don’t know how exactly things will turn out in my life, and I’m quite certain no one else does either. But I’m still here (somehow), in the midst of hardships that can’t be blamed on anyone or anything except for the sheer mystery of life. I don’t have any answers for the pain that ails myself, my family, or really anyone I know who suffers. Well-meaning people can say “chin up” and “it will all work out”… but I don’t use those terms with my friends, or even strangers. And the reason I don’t is because, number one, “chinning up” implies to me that the well-meaning person either hasn’t experienced the same hardship, or that they lack compassion… and number two, things “working out” may be someone dying from cancer or having a still-born baby, or beautiful child who takes their own life, or becoming homeless or their spouse leaving them or any other myriad of situations my realist mind has either seen in real life or can conjure up. My believing that everything will “work out” is tied to the virtue of hope, and most likely, if we are living a life of faith, the “working out” is not what we would have expected or even desired. And my best guess is that things “working out” are not only in God’s realm (with our trying our best) but also more of a nod to eternity.
I can tell you that if all has “worked out,” especially crisis pregnancies, severe health issues, and painful financial issues, they are not how I would have wanted anything to work out.
But therein lies the mystery.
Do I believe? Do I have faith? On my own: no, I don’t.
But if I have even a speck (and we are talking smaller than a mustard seed), it is God inspiring it in me. Apart from Him, I can do nothing, at least nothing good.
My one request at this point, since I’ve already nagged God and my loved ones ad nauseum, is: please aim the dodge ball at someone else. 😉
To all who are so lovingly walking the journey with us, I cannot adequately express my gratitude and love for you….
All my love,