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Swimming in Faith

One dark, looks-like-rain day, I greeted the piano tuner at our front door and commented on what a gray day it was. That prompted him to tell about the two elderly sisters who were his neighbors. They were in their garden one day when he was leaving his house, so he waved to them, calling, “Good to see you out on this gray day!”

One sister waved back and called, “It’s not gray. It’s silver.”

The other sister smiled and nodded. “Silver. Definitely silver.”

I’ve called rainy days silver ever since.

A French saying commonly attributed to writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr goes, “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns: I am grateful that thorns have roses.” G.K. Chesterton made the same point but in a different way: “An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” We can see gray or silver, thorns or roses, adventures or inconveniences. We might as well choose silver, roses, and adventures.

During Thanksgiving season in the art class I attend, we all gathered in a circle and took turns telling what we were thankful for. “Integrity,” said one of my friends. “Color, shape, and texture,” I said. Another friend smiled, “You know all those hard things I’ve gone through in the past couple of years? They brought me here, and I’m very thankful for that.”

All of our experiences – good, bad, or blah – have brought you and me here – to this blog. To this post. To this paragraph. To this confession: I write this blog as much for me as for you. It has been a way to lay out my thoughts, examine what I believe, and explore my faith. I struggle with loving, forgiving, and being in community. But my faith is opening. It’s living and breathing and growing. I hope it is growing with integrity, growing more gracious. I am in process. We are all in process. The journey is not done.

I want to reiterate four points I’ve made in past posts:

  1. A growing, living faith is constantly coming of age, as it should be, whether we’re fourteen, forty, or seventy-four.
  2. There’s no shame in questioning, in wondering, and in making your faith your own.
  3. You are responsible for what you believe.
  4. Changing your beliefs doesn’t mean losing your faith.

You can swim in an open-hearted, living, growing faith. It will hold you up. It will buoy you and carry you as you carry it. It is you. Our faith is our spiritual fingerprint, and as such, it’s unique for each of us. It touches and is touched by our cultures of origin, our sub-cultures, and every experience we have.

One of my grandsons turned one-year-old last week. My father is ninety. My two sons are approaching middle age. I just became a senior citizen. We each have a faith of some kind, the atmosphere of our souls, our spiritual attitude toward what each of us values most in life, our inner tilt. We are each on a journey, each of us in process. Sometimes life surges forward bright and clear and open; at other times it pulls back murky and iffy and drawn-in. Faith lives in that ebb and flow.

More about the ebb and flow of faith next week. Meanwhile, may your days be golden . . . or silver.

 

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Text © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy pexels.com.

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