In beginning the chore of writing another book I located and dug out a bundle of notes on sermons which I’d made over the last 10 years or so. I found this particular one, which is not a “sermon” note it’s something of a freeverse poem. It’s dated 5/27/07.
I have only a hint of why
I’ve been set upon this road.
I didn’t choose this path
With a prior purpose on my mind.
I’m just here and I’m not alone.
I am sure of what I want to find.
I am not sure of what is there to find.
I’ve been this way before with others.
This road has had one hill so far,
And a chuck hole to repair.
The map is old and sometimes hard to read.
The curves are there to see,
But the hills and valleys, the rocks and holes,
the damage left by those who
Passed this way before can take its toll.
What is it about this existence that makes knowledge of the future such an all consuming and yet futile quest? I know that it’s a completely useless waste of my time, mental and emotional energy and yet I constantly find myself in a state of profound distress over not knowing what the future holds in one area or another of my life. If the oft repeated definition of insanity as repeating a behavior over and over, each time expecting a different result is correct, then I should be locked away and left to my silliness and worry.
In “Dear Mom and Dad” I refer to a saying about worry several times. “Worry is only the interest you pay on trouble before you have it.” Well duh … physician heal thy self. When God created all of this existence He deliberately omitted the ability to see into the future and in its place He gave us a tool to help us with our inability to know the future. That tool is faith. So where is my faith? It’s not as though the quality and application of faith has not been a major issue in my life, now is it? Faith, trust, confidence, assurance; all these words have basically the same meaning, and they have been written on the whiteboard next to my desk for ages and still I find myself engaged in the “silliness” of repeated worry and fret over the morrow.
When I think about it, I have to admit that worry is another word for fear; that worry is a state of fearing what “might”, “just maybe” will happen, an hour from now, a day from now, a week, a month, even a decade from now. And once again I come back to faith, trust, confidence, assurance and for me a lack thereof. The application of all these terms in my life has required the acknowledgement of a simple fact; every forward action requires “risk.” I don’t think I will ever forget a moment, early in my sobriety, when that word reached out and accused me.
It was in an early morning AA meeting and I was still half asleep listening to the voice of a fellow recovering drunk, when I heard him say that real life required … “risk”. For a time after that I experimented with risk taking. But what I was doing in reality was gambling on an outcome. I had lots of hope for the outcome but not a shred of faith. In fact, the exercise of “faith” wasn’t even an active part of my life and it wasn’t going to be until I learned to risk. Risk requires courage, and courage is impossible without faith. My favorite example of faith is in a scene in the 1979 motion picture, “Apocalypse Now “, when the character of Col. Kilgore, played by Robert Duvall is walking about in the mayhem of battle totally unconcerned for his own safety. In the narration of Martin Sheen’s character, Capt. Willard, Willard says of Kilgore, (and I paraphrase) “He just knew he wasn’t going to die.” He just knew that his future didn’t include death, not then, not there, not now. That’s the quality of faith I want.
For me, my faith does not suffer when it comes to the big things, like “will I go to heaven when I die?” My faith suffers in the little inconsequential crap that comes along every day. Will I have enough money to cover rent, expenses, food … etc. I have no idea why either, because I always seem to have enough; just enough usually but always enough. Will I ever learn that “worry is indeed, only the interest I pay on trouble before I have it? … if I ever have it, which I usually don’t.”
One thing I do have faith in is this; I’m living the life God intended for me all along and that He has never asked more of me than He’s given me strength and ability to handle. I must admit that there are times when I wish He would lower His opinion of my abilities just a smidgen. As for seeing into the future in lieu of faith, when I look back on what has been and the pain of some past inevitable events, I’m glad that I couldn’t see them coming. Life would have been unbearable. In those cases, ignorance was indeed blissful. Will “Dear Mom and Dad” be rated a success? My faith in that is that it will be; one way or another.
What do you think?