Friday, April 22, 2011
Parking Spots, and New Beginnings (Beware, only a small reference to parking spots)
Yesterday, I finally contacted a chaplain. My body has begun suffering the effects of fear and stress--GI problems, tightness of chest, chest pain, hyperventilation. Mentally and physically I was close to snapping yesterday. My chaplain friend has the most soothing voice. She let me talk, validated my hurts and actions, observed my heightened state, and said, "You are being crucified. You feel abandoned, betrayed, rejected. But you're doing the right thing, and you have to remember the Resurrection."
Some of you reading know how tentatively and cautiously I interact with my faith. First and foremost I practice faith, well...practically. I fear blindly accepting certain beliefs. Really, I haven't considered the resurrection in a long time. But when my chaplain said that, I realized my deep need for hope for life following this time. My physical symptoms expressed my trapped and hopeless feelings. But, for the first time, even though I still don't have resolution, I allowed myself to believe this will end.
Rabbit Trail Alert: It swings back around, I swear.
My Dad's been working to keep my hope alive during this adventure as well. The night before I visited Ms. Chaplain, he told me not to forget God's sovereignty. Too bad that word has become so loaded and painful for some (me included). This is one of God's attributes I least understood, and kind of abandoned for a time as I reconsider my faith. Pretty sure Dad wasn't talking about a grand puppet master who has preordained all things. (Anybody else ever wonder if this included bathroom breaks? "I really gotta poop, God. Is this your perfect timing?") Dad wanted to remind me God is, and God knows. Remember, I'm a practical faith girl. I believe God loves people so I just do that. When Dad said that, I honestly started. Like, oh yeah, I forgot about him. I've just been so busy trying to handle this.
I've said that what I believe doesn't change God, it changes me (or something similar, too lazy to read through my own blog to find out). I shy away from too much emphasis on God's sovereignty. Really? You believe God orchestrated that parking spot for your generous behind, but hasn't gotten around to orchestrating world peace? Bully for you. So I don't believe God devotes his time to parking lot management for Christians. But I do believe he intervenes, or brings aid. Choosing to believe this changes me and brings hope.
After choosing hope in God's presence through suffering, and hope in new life/resurrection on the other side of suffering, hope happened in a real way. An individual with power and influence, who I rarely see, literally crossed my path yesterday. I chose to believe the timing more than coincidence and spoke with them. And they listened--actively, openly, compassionately. Real tangible reason to hope.
This isn't over. And, regardless of the overall outcome, my current career trajectory has altered. But, the timing, coincident with Easter, brings the richness of a faith growing from love, suffering, and new life to new heights for me. The decisions I've made during this time are the hardest, most painful and risky of my life. While I want things to work out well for me, I don't believe that doing the right thing obligates God or the fates to cater to that. This situation is just one death and a new beginning. Already, I feel new life inside me, allowing me to hope, relaxing my body, giving me freedom to think about other things.
As Easter comes, I hope it stirs life in you. Many of us don't recognize our faith any longer. We cling to some rudimentary, innate sense that something is bigger than us, is real, loves us. This, to me, is hopeful. You could abandon that sense to accept nothingness, or relinquish it for hollow conformity to others' expectations. But you don't. We don't. Good for us. In my life, what grows out of this changes me. And I find hope, this season, for the most difficult time in my life.