Saturday, March 10, 2012
Thoughts: Articles of Faith
Many years ago, when I was looking to buy my first house, there was a lot of doubt as to whether it would come to pass. I did not make enough money to qualify, I had little cash for a down payment. But I had found a house I liked, and almost as a symbol of faith, I bought a bed for the extra bedroom we would have, even though nothing really pointed to my being able to pull it off. And it came together. Yes, it took time, but I ended up getting an unexpected new job, and some unexpected money came in, and my realtor, who also was my mother in law, gave her commission towards the down payment and voila! It happened.
That's been something I have done repeatedly in my life, made investments in things I wanted, even if life and logic, the world's logic anyway, did not point clearly to things working out. And generally, they have. I did the same thing on my second house, and for the one I have now, buying something specifically for the place I did not have, then waited for life, the universe, God, to somehow re-arrange things for me. I've done it on jobs I applied for that I really wanted, investing in things that would apply specifically to the work I wanted to do. I've done it at times of spiritual or creative crisis - made the investment in things, or in emotional energy (or both) towards the progress I needed to make.
Some people might call that tempting fate, or trying to trap God into doing what I want. I don't see it that way, however. I think of these as acts of faith. Or, since often they are things - a bed, a desk, a computer, whatever, perhaps they are articles of faith. Whatever they are, they are part of my fabric at this point in life. Part of my way of saying that I believe enough to risk.
I don't do it willy nilly. You won't see me buying a Mercedes or something crazy. But I think it is important to show, to people, to the world at large, to God even, that I am not just waiting for something to happen, but that I am willing to risk to make it happen.
I see it this way, I think: There is risk in anything, even doing nothing. In fact, I think there is MORE risk in doing nothing, in just waiting for fate, another person, circumstances to change; than there is in doing something, anything, even something wrong. I don't care what "it" is - work related, personal, spiritual, love - there is risk in not doing and risk in doing. To me, the risk in letting the universe act without my input and action is far more than the risk of buying something, or doing something towards what I want. Do I fail? Yeah, I do sometimes. Do I have success? Yeah, I do sometimes, more often, in fact, than I fail.
At this point, at my age (56), my house is full of these articles of faith. And, when things are not going well, or how I want them, I can look at these things and I am reminded that God is good. That he not some obstacle to overcome, or some dis-interested observer, and that he delights when his children work towards their own hopes and dreams. That things might not work out just how I want them in terms of the details, but that when I work towards something, invest in that something, take the risk.... things will be well.
What a joy that is, to look around my house and see these reminders. They give me, not just confidence that I will survive, but the confidence to dream. Even when it makes no sense whatsoever.
PS - The picture is of a painting my dearest Rona gave me, which was my article of faith that somehow, even though there was no money, and no path, I would somehow get to Venice. A couple of years later, despite it not making sense, we did, spending a week there, and a week in Rome. That trip re-invigorated my soul. Now, I have another picture, bought at an auction for only a few bucks, yet very nice, of Notre Dame. Guess where I want to go next? I have no idea how, but......