“Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them. I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.” ―Lauren Kate
Having faith is something that doesn’t come easily or naturally to me. There are things I believe, things which are pretty steady and unshakeable: that God is; that love is our most pressing action and responsibility in this life; that there is a point to our being here. Faith is different – faith is about trust, which isn’t one of my natural responses to the world, other people, or my own efficacy.
The amazing people in my life regularly encourage me to trust that the right path will reveal itself to my feet. And while I believe that it will, I struggle on a daily basis to keep the faith. To trust enough to relax and let it unfold.
But my own recent history should inform me here. This blog began with the “Hunger Challenge” and has led to uncountable gifts that were never foreseen or promised. This morning I posted my 500th post! That’s quite a milestone, given that I began with only a vague idea what I was doing!
In his “Letter to a Young Poet”, Rilke says, “Keep growing quietly and seriously throughout your whole development; you cannot disturb it more rudely than by looking outward and expecting from outside replies to questions that only your inmost feeling in your most hushed hour can perhaps answer.” Blogging through the most difficult issues of emotional denial and repression – the things inside me that I had never brought to the light – proved to be incredibly powerful. Telling my own story in my own voice has been more healing, more central to my weight loss and current physical health, than the changes I made in diet and exercise. Rilke was on to something important which in our crazy, loud, rushed world is often overlooked. Silence and solitude allow what we carry deep inside to bubble up to the surface – if we are listening, we hear our own voices, and we learn.
Voice. I had been using my voice in journaling most of my life, and I still appreciate journaling as reflection. In posting to Jenion, though, I discovered the powerful nature of voice in dialogue with others. We live in a time when people are quick to share prurient details but slow to openly speak what is truly in their hearts. The incredibly amazing gift of this blog has come primarily from readers – both friends and strangers – who have listened to what I had to say and responded from their own deeper selves. It still feels like such a humbling grace when someone comments on a post – either sharing their experience or simply saying, “Thanks, I needed that”. I am not special or different, as I assumed in my younger years when I felt so isolated from others. I am blessedly ordinary. When our hearts are able to speak together honestly about our experiences and feelings, something extraordinary grows from that conversation.
As a teenager, I often looked for the perfect quote to share as my favorite with my senior portrait in the yearbook. (Never mind that, as it turned out, I didn’t take a senior portrait and was certainly not asked for a quote!) I thought I would probably use, as had countless others, the famous proverb: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I believed this to be true. But I hadn’t the life experience to have faith in it. Jenion has taught me the visceral truth of it – along with the unexpected knowledge that you may not know that you are taking an important first step. A step that will lead you someplace you didn’t know you wanted to go…but which is exactly where you need to be.
And with that experience and knowing, perhaps it is time for me to become a person of faith, not just a person of beliefs. Time to close my eyes and take a step, trusting that I will put my foot down in the very place I need to be.
Friends, family, readers: thank you for coming with me on this Jenion adventure! Hopefully, we have many more experiences and exploits to share!