By: Autumn Elizabeth, Editor in Chief
The things I have wanted that I don’t have could fill a book. Sometimes it is hard not to look at life as a list of unfulfilled desires: the PhD program that I didn’t get into, the marriage that didn’t work out, the job I didn’t get. Sometimes it seems like my path is strewn with only what I don’t have. Given the current state of the world, I know I am not the only one who has unfulfilled desires, I am not the only one who feels the harsh sting of failure, who has done the hard work of mending a broken heart.
So today, when my head started spiral into that negative space, I pulled out my Bible and began to search for wisdom. Now, while I have several bible copies, some pristine, etched in gold, but the Bible I search through isn’t one of those. It is full of highlighted sections and notes in the margins. It is bookmarked by prayer cards from every funeral I have ever attended, and mementos from many years of bible study. Often, this Bible simply falls open to a page, which seems as good of a place to start as any.
As it happened, today the Bible fell open to one of my favorite passages:
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. –Hebrews 11:1
So there it is. The wisdom I have to share today is to simply have faith. I have to keep walking on my spiritual journey, even when things look bleak and when my hopes end up as unfulfilled desires. I have to trust that I am co-creating something beautiful and meaningful with my God, with my comrades, with my lovers, my friends, and my family. In short, even when desires remain unfulfilled, when prayers seem unanswered, when wishes are not granted, I must have faith…for the bible tells me so.
I am no Bible scholar and my familarity with it is nowhere near the depth it should be at. I have engaged in formal Bible study on various occasions, but found my greatest growth comes from when that Good Book “simply falls open to a page,”
Not because I believe that God is telegraphing a message to me, or some cosmic karma is at work. I learn at these times because I am ready to learn …
Maybe faith really is just about keeping our eyes open, with our minds and hearts open to whatever is revealed. Taoism tells us that “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” (various versions exist of this idea)
For me, it’s all about being ready and open …
Appreciate your honesty, your thoughtfulness, and your sharing with us …
Thanks John. I think you offer a great point about finding wisdom when we are ready to learn. Thanks for all your wisdom!
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