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FAITHFUL LIVING: Trace your spiritual wiring
Are you spiritually wired? Do matters of faith, religion and spirituality absorb your thoughts or guide your life? Are you bored or intrigued by the idea that there is a God who was, is and always will be? How comfortable are you considering what lies beyond the life we know here? Do you believe God is interactive and personal in nature?
John Calvin, a French Reformer and theologian who spent most of his adult life in Geneva during the 1500s, considered these and many other matters concluding that knowledge of God has been naturally implanted in the human mind.
Spiritually wired individuals embrace the most basic precepts of faith with an eagerness and naturalness that appear to others like mindless abandonment. They are the ones, I believe, who seem compelled (nearly in spite of themselves) to stir it up and challenge the pure logic and intelligence of evolving, popular social thought.
It seems easier for them to take those inevitable steps of faith than to ignore that strong, persistent, tug toward heaven. Their spirituality usually emerges early in the game and they frequently react with profound words of comfort. They seem to be able to dip from a deep well of hope even when life is terribly difficult.
Their spirituality can also trouble those who cannot understand it.
When I turned 3, I became known as the spiritual member of the family. Like most parents, mine observed my growing personality with fascination and as the story goes, my spiritual bent emerged the day my mothers father died. For quite some time he had battled cancer and heart disease. The news that he had finally succumbed in an Oklahoma hospital came as no surprise, but the finality of it all deeply saddened my 25-year-old mother nonetheless.
My mothers crying troubled me and I am said to have hopped up onto her lap to receive some reassurance.
Why are you crying? I asked.
My daddy was so sick the doctors could not help him to get well and he has died. Ill miss him and that makes me sad, my mother responded.
What did God say when he got to heaven? I asked.
Stunned by such a question, Mom hesitated as her mind raced for an answer she thought a 3-year-old might understand. But before she was able to utter a response, I answered my own question by saying, Welcome! I will make you well!
What remains with my mom, all these years later, is the lasting effect of my words. You brought me such comfort. The funny thing is, recalling that day still comforts me.
The story clarifies for me a most profound understanding I have developed of myself: I am and always have been a spiritual person, clear back to a time when I was too young to be strongly manipulated or to act independently of my natural self.
Such self-knowledge has been helpful to me, for my role in life my path if you will has always seemed comfortably defined for me. While my faith embarrassed me during some of my teen years, when I could not have dared to share anything spiritual with anyone, that embarrassment no longer exists. Thinking about God, talking to Him, journaling about Him and praying for others is as natural as breathing and brings immeasurable amounts of energy and joy into my daily life.
But what about the person who shares a remote interest, but views most public steps toward faith or God as unnecessary, illogical, confusing, scary or embarrassing? I can understand this hesitancy. So can poet Sarah Henderson Hay, who writes about her own journey as someone not naturally spiritual:
I sought Him where my logic led.
This friend is always sure and right;
His lantern is sufficient light
I need no star, I said.
I sought Him in the city square.
Logic and I went up and down
The marketplace of many a town,
And He was never there.
I tracked Him in the minds far rim.
The valiant Intellect went forth
To east and west and south and north,
And found no trace of Him.
We walked the world from sun to sun,
Logic and I, with little Faith.
But never came to Nazareth,
Or found the Holy One.
I sought in vain. And finally,
Back to the hearts small house I crept,
And fell upon my knees, and wept;
And lo! He came to me!
May compassion and an open heart anoint us this week as we go about living our lives, trying our best to figure it all out no matter our wiring!
Freelance writer Joan Bay Klopes e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org