45 Things I Learned... 11

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

I was raised by devout Christian parents. Dad is a priest that I consider somehow not a traditional father but a more humanistic version of what the clergy we know should be. Mom is well-versed in theology and she instilled in me the unwavering belief that no matter what lies ahead, God is always there for me. Growing up, I wasn't forced to pray like many people think when they know about dad. In addition, my inquisitive mind had to be met with logical answers because it wouldn't rely on anything that couldn't be explained in a cartesian way. Not all my religious questions were answered. I was told then that science and religion do not explain one another. This led to a short period -about 17 months- in which I didn't want to go to church or even pray. I hated being told that my behavior had to be dictated by what my father chose to do with his life. I was my own entity and I certainly didn't see myself as a nun. As a teenager, having to experience bigotry and intolerance was interesting to observe but definitely pushed me further away from that crowd. I was living in Germany, away from mom and dad who had stayed in Lebanon with all my siblings. I am not saying that all church-goers that I encountered were zealots. Fortunately not! Some souls were kind and open and wouldn't brush me off or think I was crazy for inquiring about concepts I couldn't understand well. I felt a coldness in my heart during these months, where I was more or less on my own spiritually. My baptismal name is Marie and I always enjoyed a personal connection with our Mother Mary. I missed talking to her. Yes. You read right. I talk to her like I sometimes talk to my maternal grandmother who was my godmother and left us too early. My relationship with Mary got me to come back into the arms of the church with my skepticism as tenacious as ever...

With the years that passed, the obstacles I had to overcome, and the aggressions/hardships I had to survive, I remained confident that the Lord protected me. I didn't need to know how and what for. I was hurt on several occasions. And I looked for the teaching in each occurrence. My Divine creator inspired soothing energy to counter my inner demons, my distressing thoughts, and whatever was happening around me. When armed people threatened my life in a foreign country where I didn't know who to trust, when people hurt me physically or mentally, when I was tired of all the fighting and felt like a hamster on a wheel, I took a few moments to look up and breathe while I asked our Mother to supply me with a little more grit to sustain the situation at hand. I later on discovered that this intuitive behavior is not necessarily religious and is actually spiritual. Even atheists who practice specific body postures to relax their minds and muscles observe similar rituals. It doesn't really matter whether you believe in Christ like me, or Allah, or Buddha, or the Universe, or something else. It is faith that carries us beyond our fears. Because it is only with faith that we allow our hearts to see the light when all our eyes can perceive is darkness. No matter what I went through, and it's been quite interesting so far 😁, this was the path I chose to stay on. I now have abandoned wanting to know what's at the end of said tunnel. Although my faith was deep for as long as I can remember, with that little hiatus when I was still defining what worked for me and what not, it is only recently that I acknowledged my resilience and could feel proud of myself smiling when I felt like crying and about to give in. Because in my heart I always sensed that the good, the bad, and the ugly are all going to pass and I knew that perseverance is what would get me forward.

Quotes about faith that speak to me:

Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith - Margaret Shepard

For we walk by faith, not by sight - 2 Corinthians 5:7

Faith moves mountains. Doubt creates them - Anonymous

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother - Gibran Khalil Gibran

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light - Helen Keller

If you are fearful you are not faithful enough to bring your dreams into life - Roxana Jones

Our faith becomes stronger as we express it; a growing faith is a sharing faith - Billy Graham


May you be blessed with faith to make things possible, hope to make them work, and love to induce beauty in your lives 🙏🏻

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