A friend sat down beside me Sunday before church and told me that she misses me. I knew, and so did she, that I haven’t missed any Sunday services. She meant something else, so I explained that it feels to me as though a buffer of gauze exists between me and the world. It’s that buffer that she senses. On Sunday it was 15 months to the day since my partner died. This gauze buffer is the current state of grief for me. My friend seemed to think it might be two years or more, so we surprised each other.
People are still offering advice about how to deal with grief. Some people think I’m going too slow; others, that I’m trying to go too fast. In truth, I’m not doing either but just being here, day to day, doing my work, tending to the dogs, and thinking constantly of how to deal with the aging cat.
I seek advice on the latter from God and from my departed partner and somehow the needed answers come. I’m not certain from Whom/whom, only that the answer has come from the Spirit world. And that’s enough.
I continue my subscription to Christian Century because there is always something special in every issue—something that makes me pause and think or maybe causes me to be a little more grateful. A lot of my blog posts had their roots in something I read in the magazine.
“Faith Matters” is a column that I always take a look at, and in the January 7, 2015, issue the column was entitled “Lesser-known Heroes.” It was written by M. Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary. His lofty title notwithstanding, Barnes was writing to recognize local pastors who not only do not usually have lofty titles, but are seldom celebrated. He reminds us that “there are many unpretentious, undistinguished pastors in the world who are quietly doing heroic things.”
And what is the main heroic thing these pastors do? Barnes tells us: these pastors go before their congregations, people often beaten up by the effort life can be, to remind them, “We have a Creator for our lives who is not done. We have a Redeemer for all of the tragedy we have created by acting as if we were gods. We have a Spirit who will not abandon us to the mess we’ve made of ourselves and the world.”
To be thus reminded has to be one of the highest reasons to attend local church services.
Mary Morrissey has a number of ways of being available to people. One of these is her blog (where the link leads) and another is a daily dispatch via email. Recently she published a “Daily Dream Builder” post on a T-shirt slogan she had seen: “Faith is a lifestyle.” Mary explained the slogan as “we put our believing mind toward possibility.”
While that is beautifully stated, it passes through a bit quickly. To me, the point is so important that it deserves a deeper look.
“Faith is a lifestyle” describes a way of being in the world that is defined by the decision to believe. It describes a relationship you have chosen to live within – whether you see that as a relationship between yourself and the Universe or one between yourself and God. It says that you will conduct yourself within a range of behavior and you believe that what’s on the other side of the relationship will also conduct Itself within a range of behavior. It says that you have chosen to trust in the Good. It says that when life seems rough, you choose to believe that ultimately some positive result will manifest itself and you are willing to wait and watch for that. It says that you have your role and however you define the larger Spirit also has its role, and the two roles together shape your life.
What do you think?