Sunday, June 3, 2007

With this breath I take a leap of faith

Some mornings I awaken and wonder, what on earth am I going to write? How can new words, new thoughts come to me this morning, haven't I used them up yet?

And then, I sit down at the keyboard, and there they are. Tripping off my fingertips, spilling out onto the screen.

Faith. Ya gotta have faith.

It's Sunday morning so perhaps that's why faith has risen up. When I was a little girl, I loved Sunday mornings. I loved getting all dressed up in my special clothes and putting on my hat and going with my family to church. I didn't care too much about what was being said -- back then much of it was in Latin so I didn't have a clue what was being said! But I loved the solemnity of the occasion. The rituals. The smells. The incense. The ladies perfumes. The men's colognes. I loved walking into the church. That click, click, click my shoes made against the concrete of the church's floor. The hallowed feeling to the air. The sense of airiness and light and shadow at play throughout the space.

The feeling that something, someone Divine was present. I used to wonder if God only lived in church on Sunday, where was he the rest of the week. I quit asking though. The question only seemed to make people angry.

I still wonder about that.

When I was a little girl I didn't think of God as the friendliest being in the world. In fact, God and my father had a lot in common. A big hand. Eyes that watched me even when I was alone. And a voice that could scare the daylight out of me even when I was hiding in a closet.

God was not someone I confided in, but I loved going to church.

My mother used to 'do' the flowers on the altar. Once a week my sister and I would go with her and quietly sit in a pew as she arranged the flowers in the big glass vases that sat on either side of the altar on the floor. A. and I would have to be quiet. We weren't supposed to talk in church, even when we were alone. We'd sit on the wooden pew, it's sleek wood cool against the back of our legs. Our feet didn't touch the ground and we would swing our legs and whisper to each other, trying desperately to suppress our giggles as I made up stories about the people whose lives were captured in the stained glass windows, or whose statues stood in silent witness in the alcoves around the church.

When my mother was finished with the flowers she'd beckon to us both to join her at the altar. We'd slip off the benches, race towards her and suddenly stop when her tight lipped face and angry gesture reminded us to WALK. Like being at the pool, which was my other favouritest place in the whole wide world, we weren't supposed to run in church. A. and I would guiltily stop, slow down and walk towards my mother. When we reached the altar, she would turn back to face the crucifix, genuflect and kneel. A. and I would awkwardly perform our version of a genuflect, then kneel on either side of her on the red bristly rug of the altar step. With bowed head we'd say our prayers. I used to wonder why the rugs were always red, but I quit asking that question too. No one seemed to have an answer.

I remember not liking having my eyes closed when I prayed. I was terrified of the crucifix hanging from the ceiling above the altar. I didn't like the idea of a man hanging up there. Blood dripping from the wound in his side and palms. I didn't like the sad look on his face, and I particularly didn't like that thought that he might pick that very moment to climb down from his cross and come alive right before my eyes. If he could do it once, he could do it again! I didn't want to miss the action but was worried he would be angry with me. I was never ready with a sin free soul. I always seemed to be carrying around one or two transgressions.

When I was a little girl I loved going to church for the rituals, for the time alone with my parents, for the feeling of being part of something bigger, something greater than just me.

It is that sense of wonder that still holds me in thrall every time I step into a place of worship. It is that quiet, serene beauty of a place where the divine comes to earth and the air is filled with the feeling of being connected to a universe greater than the space we live in on a daily basis. And, it is the awe I feel when my thoughts quiet, my mind quits racing and I sit and feel my steady heart beating in time.

I love going to church. It is a place of community. Of wonder. Of awe. For me, it is a place where faith transcends religion. Where the power of Love ascends above the daily grind and connects me to the awesome, amazing wonder of being human.

It is a place of Love.

This morning, whether you step into a building erected to worship the God of your choosing, or whether you step outside to witness the beauty of your day in full bloom, let your spirit soar free. Take a deep and satisfying breath. Let the oxygen flow into your body and with each breath in feel it transform into the energy that feeds you, sustains you, carries you into your day. Let the energy of the universe enter your body so that you can walk through your day filled with the awesome power of the world around you.

Living is about faith. Who knew that a tiny seed could become the miracle of you? That in your body the wonder of life would come alive in all its awesome power and beauty?

It takes faith to be human. Faith that this journey will carry you forward in love. Faith that every night when you go to sleep your body will awaken in the morning. Faith that as you travel through your day your body will support without your bones falling down inside you. And faith that this breath you take will lead to the next and the next and the next.

Today, with every breath I take, I take a leap of faith that what I need to sustain my life will be carried into my body on a breath of air. In that breath the moment just passed will connect me to the moment in the here and now as I breathe. In. Out. In. Out. As the air enters my body, it is transformed into life giving energy that sustains me and connects me to everyone in the universe. We all breathe the same air. Sharing of the wonder and mystery that is life on earth.

With every breath I take, I am filled with the awesome power of the universe around me as I connect to the awesome power of you.


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