Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Faith Which is Within Me

Faith Which is Within Me
by Erin Word

Once upon a time not so long ago, I nearly lost my faith. It snuck out the door one night while I was preoccupied, and quickly vanished into the darkness. I didn't see it leave, but soon I noticed something missing. I mistakenly believed it would return on its own, when it was good and ready; but time went by and it did not return. A growing emptiness worried me, I realized I could no longer even remember what it looked like. I determined to set out on a journey to relocate it. I became anxious about where this adventure might take me; what might I find to fill this empty void, and would I know it when I saw it?

I followed the trail my faith had left through wood and dale and field and plain, neath starry skies, moon, and clouds. Soon I came upon a grove of trees, where fairies danced and spells were cast. I caught a glimpse of maidens clothed in capes of green; they called and sang to the earth. Their mystery was enticing, voices whispering in darkness. I was tempted to abide with them, if only for awhile, and yet, something was not quite fitting to me. Suddenly, I recalled my mission, "Have you seen my faith?" I cried to them, hoping they would know.

And the Pagans said, "An it harm none, do what ye will"!

Towards the East I turned, renewing my quest; soon in a foreign land. I saw people dressed in white from head to toe; spinning, swirling in unison, round and round and round, mezmerizingly. They bid me come and dance - one hand receiving from the Divine, one giving away to all; and for a moment I considered it. "Is my faith here, perhaps?" I asked a man as he gracefully passed by me.

And the Sufis said, "Love for others what you love for yourself".

Near hills of red and stripes of coal and clay, I met an old woman holding a pipe, with a fragrant fire to warm herself by. I said, "My faith is missing". She simply smiled and passed me her pipe, motioning to the starry sky. For a moment I felt a sense of peace and unity with all things and wished it would last a lifetime. Then she drew an owl in the dirt with her finger. I understood the sign of wisdom, and saw it in myself, yet did not feel complete.

And the Native Americans said, "All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One".

I came upon a chapel where a group of souls were lighting chalice candles. I sat and watched awhile as they began their lovely singing. The people there were from all walks, and seemed at peace with each other. It was a gentle group of friends and neighbors, where I could feel at home. I tapped a woman near me on the shoulder and inquired, "Has my faith been by this way?"

And the Unitarian Universalists said, "We affirm respect for the interdependence of all existence".

I sighed and turned toward home, knowing I had failed. I wondered if my faith was lonely, was it tired or cold or hungry? Where could it be? I mused, for I have looked in every place I could think to tread. I almost thought I saw it everywhere I went, and yet each was not precisely right. All those things were good, providing comfort to my spirit, I could even, maybe, take a part of each for mixing as my own - a faith concoction unique to me. Yet, all the others, even combined, just could not replace my faith; there was nothing which could compare. I decided I would never see it again, it was gone for good, and I sat upon a grassy hill to weep.

Just then I heard a wind and felt it blow upon my face. It was gentle and soothing for my weary soul. It shared with me an answer and then went upon its way.

"Your faith is not external, an object to be possessed, a thing which could ever be lost and one day found again. Your faith lies is in a Person who is always there within you; He will never leave you nor forsake you and He cannot ever be replaced. However, He is the common ancestor of every faith upon earth. For He has always been, His DNA in all creation; and all resembles Him. This is why the words each faith shared with you seemed very nearly like Him."

And in that moment, I heard Jesus say, "Be to others what you would have them be to you".

Erin Word lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children. She is an aspiring author and frequent blogger. A self-described freak of faith, she has abandoned the long-held standards of traditional Christianity, seeking instead to wander her own path and breathe the fresher air which exists outside-the-box. Her favorite things are loving, laughing, living. Oh, and Jesus. You can find her at Decompressing Faith.


kelly said...

Hey Erin, this is amazing! I really, really enjoyed it was sung to the tune of my own walk of faith. I've got one of everything in my family. Which makes us 'mixed nuts'. :)

Thanks for including me in your project!

Have you ever heard of Imago Dei church in Portland? I was just wondering...

Peace, Kelly

Erin Word said...

Thanks Kelly! Glad you liked it! My family is a bit of a mix, too. Not necessarily the ones I mentioned, but nonetheless...

I am aware of Imago Dei, but I have never been. It's not conveniently located for my family, so we're just never gone out of our way. I hear great things about it, though.

Susan said...

Thanks Erin for all the work you and Pam have put into this blog and the ezine. You have done a great job.

Thanks too for including me!

Erin Word said...

Susan - You're very welcome!

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