I got caught in a riptide once.
It's a pretty strange feeling because you can't feel the ocean floor, yet you can still see enough of the shoreline to feel like safety is within reach. There's absolutely no way my friends would have guessed I was in any kind of danger. But after a few armstrokes, when you realize you're further away, panic runs through your veins like hot lava. I began to pray, and remember the words from my father: if you ever get caught, swim diagonally towards the coast. Then I caught a wave that pushed me towards the water's edge, and I swam until my feet could touch the sandy ground.
"You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand"
Like the open seas, faith is a deep mystery worth uncovering. As a woman of faith, I make a daily choice to swim in the deep of uncertainty, built on a hope that is made up of the unseen & the unheard. I practice my faith by heeding the wisdom of my elders, sending my arms into rotation, embracing the sudden tide returning me back to the shore of reality to give me a rest, a reflection, and a resolve to return to the open arms of the ocean once again.
Coming back to America over a year and a half ago -- although I didn't know it at the time -- was like dropping into a God-sized watery void with no land mass in sight. I've gone through every emotion possible while out here treading water trying to make it make sense.
"Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now"
My faith practice has been upended; I no longer *go* to church, but rather I help people *be* the church from New York to Paján. Christianity is no longer the center of my life; Christ is. I don't read my bible every day, but I still find a way to hear God's voice, even if it's looking at a dozen dead roses or listening to every rendition of The Blessing that I can get my hands on. My friend taught me that just the very practice of breathing is a prayer, YHWH; saying his name with every inhale and exhale to get me through a long-distance run.
My faith still stands.
I'm learning to love and be loved in all ways, starting with myself for myself. I'm building a village, not relying on finding a soulmate to fulfill all my needs, not looking for love in humans that only God himself can offer.
My faith practice may not look like yours, and that's okay. You do what you need to do to stay afloat. Some days I can lift my hands, other days I can't get out of bed.
"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"
I am wary of people who preach a gospel certainty; I have to admit, my election is not always so sure. I don't know if Jesus is coming back soon -- it's been like 2000+ years -- most folks would never call that "any day now." I don't know if heaven is in the sky or hell is below the earth. I don't know if I'll get to be a Black woman when I die. More often than not, all I have are questions, and fears, and doubts (Hi Thomas!). God is not intimidated by this. He just wants me to keep coming back, one day at a time. Faith is in the return trip, in the arm stroke, in the questioning, in the mystery.
I'm looking through a glass darkly at life and somehow I'm still able to see light. That's the miracle that keeps me going, keeps me living, keeps me loving, keeps me serving, keeps me swimming. I am free to believe, and I'm free to be me.
"I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine"
I attended a Catholic All-Girls High School, The Mary Louis Academy, where we would attend mass throughout the year to mark special holidays and occasions. At mass, there would be a person that led our prayers and songs, and in each mass the presiding Priest would sing or recite the words:
"Let Us Proclaim the Mystery of Faith."
Along with the woman, the entire congregation would fill the grand sanctuary of Incarnation Parish, responding:
"Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again."
This my friends, is enough for me to thrive on, un día como vez. This is the hope that I have as an anchor for my soul. I don't have to be sure about how it will all play out, but it is a truth that I can hold onto in any circumstance that life throws my way. The mystery keeps me agile, keeps me innovating and shifting, and open to new perspectives, ready to try new things. Flexibility is my superpower!
When the fire comes my way to wreak havoc in the home of my being, I believe that I will come out without burn marks on my spirit. This mystery of faith rests on a hope in a Savior who has already finished the most important work by dying for me, now lives to empower me daily, and will eventually come to make every broken thing in the systems of this world whole and beautiful just the way the Creator intended.
A special VERY rare treat: Me, singing. Hope you like ;0