Monday, October 12, 2009

Life And Faith

Life has been on my mind lately. So has faith. Life and faith. What do they expect from us? Do they sit on some throne high above us? Joined by Death? Faith sitting in the middle with Death at its left hand and Life at its right?

Yesterday, I was driving aimlessly in the car on some forgotten errand. I suddenly became angry with - of all people - my Father. "I know you love me, Dad," I shouted, "so why haven't you proven that there's something else? That when we die, we still live? That you are still aware, still loving us? Can't I get one damn sign from you, for God's sake? Is that really too much to ask?" (After which spewed forth some rather obnoxious swear words which, though not typical of me, nevertheless felt awfully good.) I looked over at the car next to mine and saw the "crazy person alert" look on the driver's poor face. It was Sunday. He was all dressed up and probably going to church. I didn't go to church this Sunday. I wasn't quite certain anymore. I had lost my bearings. My compass pointed everywhere except in the right direction.

I have heard people remark that God doesn't give us more than we can bear. To which I say, "Bull**it." God gives us much more than we can bear. Which is where Faith comes in. I was looking for a sign from my father that I am on the right track when I believe that the spirit continues to live, even after its vessel has died. After thinking about it more calmly, however, I decided that Faith is believing in something that cannot be subject to proof. That by its definition, Faith defies reason.

Before the drive ended, I realized that I had been driving in silence, with the radio turned off. I switched it on, and there was a discussion being had about a recent wedding. A man was talking about his daughter's wedding day. The first words I heard of the conversation were, "On our way to the church, I told my daughter it wasn't too late. We could still turn around if she wasn't sure." It swept me back to a January day in 1971. My Father took my arm in his and lead me to the waiting limousine. As he held my train and veil, I slipped into the backseat, and he slid in beside me. On the ride to the church, he gently picked up my right hand and held it in his, "You know, Lindy, it isn't too late," he said. "We can still turn the car around if you want to." Dad and I laughed about it for years and years.

Was it the sign I begged for? Who can say. Maybe it was; maybe not. In any event, it came after I had already reclaimed the peace I craved. Faith is, I have decided, a gift that you don't send back.


  1. Graddikins, I often choose to see things naturally occurring in the world (dolphin and whale sightings feature extremely highly) as private little communiques from my granddad and my niece. It just makes me feel closer to them, and makes me feel hopeful and happy to believe in the possibility, however unlikely it may be. Unlike you, I am without religious faith, but I am a very faithful person, and like you, I believe that something lasts.

  2. I didn't know what to say to your last post, Grad, although I felt a lot of things. Most of them just terribly, terribly sad. You remember I was looking into spirituality lately? Well, your experience here is exactly what I was thinking about in terms of us all being united in the life spirit, seamlessly. Your father is still there to be shouted at in some significant, meaningful way, his words and feelings flow through into the words and feelings of the man on the radio. The life force streams down from our ancestors, through us, into our children, and we couldn't be more interconnected if we tried. Death is a different relationship to that life spirit, but a relationship still and nevertheless.

    And there is no emotion, no matter how lacerating, that will not be stilled and calmed in time, apart from the emotions that get battered down and repressed (they risk lasting forever). So you yell at the steering wheel all you want to. Everything's better out than in.

  3. Di and Litlove, Thank you for being there.

  4. I'm not religious but I do believe the spirit of those we love stay with us always even when the people themselve are no longer. Those spirits give us wisdom and comfort and strength to help us bear the things we don't think we can. Did your dad give you a message? Most certainly. Lots of hug to you Grad. Take care.

  5. Thank you for this. You have such a wonderful way with words, and you described a lot of how I feel about faith. I have come to believe that faith that is struggled with and questioned is more valuable to me than the unquestioning kind that I sometimes think I'm supposed to have but don't anymore.

    What a sweet memory of your dad, too. I believe that there is a spiritual realm, and that we are interconnected to those we love.

    (Sorry if this is rambling and nonsensical. I'm sleep deprived and need to go to bed!)

  6. I'm only sorry we're not *actually* there, sitting in the Nantucket Grey kitchen thrashing it all out over cups of tea and cake.