Kathleen Norris, in her book Amazing Grace, a Vocabulary of Faith, speaks candidly about her experience of faith and trudging through vocabulary of a religion that was so often distant from her. As I contemplate the upcoming Good Friday, the crucifixion of Christ, death, burial, and resurrection, I stop to question what those words mean. They feel distant and untouchable, intangible. I don’t like the imagery. I’m uncomfortable with the expression of faith. My roots are reaching deeper and deeper to find something meaningful, that I can hold onto. But perhaps, in this time, it’s enough to just be there, repeating the declaration of faith and living a life that wants for something more. Going through the motions, it seems, it sometimes all we can do.

In Norris’ words:

Above all, I waited. And most often, not much happened. With some words (about faith), I failed utterly. But gradually, others came to life. Fortunately, believing, like writing, is more process than product, and is not, strictly speaking, a goal-oriented activity. There is no time limit. And if some words remain “theirs,” words or concepts that I recognize as part of my Christian heritage but which I may never comprehend in any meaningful way, I can live with it. And even call them “ours,” without fully understanding the how or why.

Perhaps my most important breakthrough with regard to belief came when I learned to be as consciously skeptical and questioning of my disbelief and my doubts and I was of my burgeoning faith. This new perspective also helped me to deal with my anger over the fact that churches, as institutions, so often behave in polarized and polarizing ways. (Fr. Martin Smith wrote that he finds…)

a widespread need in contemporary spirituality to find ways of praying and engaging with God, our selves, and one another that have room for simultaneous contradictions, the experience of opposite emotions. We need to find the sacredness in living the tensions and to admit how unsacred, how disconnecting and profane, are the attempts at praying and living while suppressing half of the stuff that fascinates or plagues us.

1 April. (April Fools!) Watched Enchanted with Steph and Erin + Elsa. Lasagna lunch with Coopers, Heath and Karen, played at the park, and pushed a sweet little one on the swings. (Push me higher!) Quiet evening of reading ahead. I’ve become “Erin Oakley” to the Cooper kids- quite fond of the first name last name combo when used on a regular basis.

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