Faith Among the Faithless

"Take delight in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart."
~Psalm 37:4

This verse has served as my support for the past few years. It got me through the devastation of falling flat on my face out here, it got me through the worst heartbreak I have ever known, and it got me through the catastrophe of Happy Camper. It also got me here.

Back home in Missouri you constantly interact with people who pepper their sentences with phrases like "God willing", "It's in God's hands", and "But for the grace of God". Back home, I felt like some kind of delinquent because I wasn't nearly religious enough or faithful enough or good enough to be among these people who were constantly in the presence of God. I would get frustrated by those who would remind me that something was in God's hands because I felt that He granted us free will and thus something became my responsibility. I got frustrated because I felt like they didn't approve or I wasn't good enough because I didn't go to church and wasn't part of their community of fundamentalists. I talked to God on my own, I had a strong faith, and that was all I needed. I so looked forward to the aspect of living in San Francisco that allowed me to be who I am without persistent meddling of evangelicals into my religious habits or spiritual thoughts.

I have now been in this incredible city for three months. Things are going well...I'm having fun, I enjoy life, I'm content. Something is missing, though. I think I just realized what it is. I'm not really happy. Happy enough, but not REALLY happy.

I've been telling myself it's my weight, it's my habits, it's the dating thing...any thing I can come up with that's actually under my power to change.

Walking home from the bus it occurred to me that I've yet to thank God for this beautiful city. I've yet to talk to God truly since I've been here. I've yet to bring Him along with me into this new life I've started.

Back home I constantly kept faith in Him that He would lead me in the right direction if I kept my heart focused on Him. I've spent my life trying to show Love and be a good person, and I felt like I just wanted a little break. So now I'm here, having achieved everything I want. Now I've got it all, right?

I'm constantly in conversations with people who tell me how cool it is that I made it here, how lucky I've gotten, how all of these great little coincidences have worked together to put me in this amazing situation. People are always telling me how lucky I am. Others who know me better and know how much I struggled with my previous failure out here tell me they're proud of me and how I made it back. They say I should be proud of myself...I've done so much to get here.

While I don't discount my part in getting here, nor do I believe that it's impossible that the stars aligned to get me this amazing situation, I do realize that I'm contradicting myself in a majorly uncool way. I prayed and prayed for God to help. I was so faithful when I was struggling, when I believed I needed Him. Now that I'm here I've yet to give credence to the idea that He may very well have just answered my prayers. How shitty of me.

In a city where everyone seems so faithless, or so faithful in transient fads, it's difficult to hold strong to one's own traditional faith. Here, I have freedom from reminders that I'm lacking in my spirituality. I have the freedom to practice how I choose without being looked down upon. In fact, I think I just may be the most religious person out of anyone I know here. Maybe, just maybe, I need that kick in the heart every once in a while.

So here's to faith. Here's to me realizing what a jerk I've been. And here's to me knowing what I have to change to find that true happiness I want in my new life in San Francisco.

I am infinitely grateful.


quickisasquickdoes said...

I love the Psalms and seing you quote one at the beginning of your entry brought a smile to my face. I don't often run into them here in the Bay Area. The Psalms are raw and uncensored in a way the rest of the bible isn't. You'll find the blackest of emotions mixed up with the pinnacles of joy and through them all run a constant thread of praise.

Three years ago I felt like I had come to the top of a mountain: here I was in the promised land that I had been working so hard to get to. But somehow it felt more than just a little empty. I love the Bay Area but at times it seems like the hearts here are well meaning ... but fickle. It's a busy place and people rush from one thing to another without really thinking about where they're going in the long run.

The one thing that I wanted most in my life was something bigger than myself. The road I took was twisted to say the least. But everything worked out in the end and I did succeed in finding a truely selfless love here among the faithless. Just not quite in the way I expected. He answered my prayers kindly and with a warm heart. I'm sure he will answer yours as well in a way perfect to you.


Linz said...

Mona, you my dear, were never not spiritual enough. You just never believed you were.

BTW, I just reread Redeeming Love recently, I devoured it in two days and it shattered my heart into a million pieces again.