I may have finally learned that “Figure it out” is not a good slogan for me or most other humans. Stressful. My best attempts prove murky, wobbly, wily, confusing, and complex. Perhaps, “keep faith in things unseen” and stay the course could be a kinder approach.
I was meeting a friend for lunch in a new unfamiliar place —
one that turns out is plain old weird and difficult to navigate. This is coming from someone who has driven in unfamiliar countries, places, and foreign cities for 40 years. This place contains roundabouts that are not aligned squarely with the incoming streets, heavy congested traffic and people in a big hurry to get somewhere, of course.
I felt overly determined on this particular day — confident and faithful that I was equipped for this adventure and affirming it would be with ease and grace. All the best and powerful spiritual mix, right? I sought the assistance of my most trusted and dependable friend “Siri” for navigation assistance, realizing she is smarter and broader minded than me. I proceeded confidently along the route, navigated two of the crazy intersections, and Siri informed me, “You have arrived”. Although, I didn’t see a restaurant in sight, I had arrived. I decided to park and figure it out on foot. I surely must be close.
I parked the car in the first available space that included “two hour” parking. How generous. I guess that keeps people like me from living in that space all winter. I stepped out of the car, took a big deep breath, basked in my glory of accomplishment, secretly taking the credit of course, and began to look around for the restaurant. My first discovery was that I was at the City Hall. As I bean my restaurant search, the arrows in the photo were there to direct me.
Two ways! Which way? Who decides? I got a huge belly laugh and another “awakening” reset from the God wink. What if there is more than one way to whatever we are headed for? What would it be like to accept this reality and proceed with understanding and less stress?
I’ve resurrected some writings from the years past and am moving ahead to put them in print. I don’t enjoy the detail tracking, and frankly it is a territory that has NO interest to me whatsoever. Therefore, it takes a great deal of effort, energy, focus, and determination to proceed on that path. What makes it possible however, is a strong, clear call to move in the direction of my goal to get these teachings to all of humanity. Therefore, I continue to move ahead. I wish I could shoe-horn in what E.L. Doctorow said about writing applied to every task:
“It’s like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little ways ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way.” The same thing must apply to publishing, printing, and the rest of it.
I won’t begin to believe that I know what Faith is or isn’t. What I will continue to do is watch for winks, signs and accept the complexity of the directions. What will you do in the name of “faith”?
Here’s a list, from a favorite author who seems rooted and in touch with our humanness. I’m learning, want to join me?
Author Anne Lamott: “adapted”.
Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.
- All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.
- Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.
- There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.
- Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.
Also, you can’t save, fix, or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world.
When people respond by saying, “Well, isn’t she full of herself,” smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea.
- Chocolate with 70% cacao is not actually a food. It’s best use is as bait in snake traps.
- Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart — your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it’s why you were born.
- Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage, and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known were all writers who’d had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.).
Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won’t, it can’t. But writing can. So can singing.
- Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. (See #1 again.) At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it’s a miracle that this annoying person even lived. Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants.
When Blake said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love, he knew that your family would be an intimate part of this, even as you want to run screaming for your cute little life. But that you are up to it. You can do it, Cinderellie. You will be amazed.
- Food; try to do a little better.
- Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves others and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, “Help!” And then buckle up.
Grace won’t look like Casper the Friendly Ghost; but the phone will ring, or the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.
- God; Goodness, Love energy, the Divine, a loving animating intelligence, the Cosmic Muffin. You will worship and serve something, so like St. Bob said, you gotta choose. Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up.
My pastor says you can trap bees on the floor of a Mason jar without a lid, because they don’t look up. If they did, they could fly to freedom.
- Faith: Paul Tillich said the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Fundamentalism, in all its forms, is 90% of the reason the world is so terrifying. 3% is the existence of snakes.
The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is.
- Jesus; Jesus would have even loved horrible, mealy mouth self-obsessed you, as if you were the only person on earth. But He would hope that you would perhaps pull yourself together just the tiniest, tiniest bit — maybe have a little something to eat, and a nap.
- Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this. If you are in a wheelchair, you must do chair exercises. Every single doctor on earth will tell you this, so don’t go by what I say.
- Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you.
All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time, and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, “Take off your shoes.” We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.
Martha Creek version of Faith --- believing and taking action as though I am, we are, on holy ground. Then repeat. Oh, and feel free to take your shoes off and leave them off.
Happy springtime beloved friends. May the renewal of nature give you confidence, heart, and stamina for all changes occurring, and proof that life does and will have its wonderful way.
P.S. You can vacation with me and other joy filled others this summer in the Spectacular Scenic National Parks of the west.
Or come to Beachside Spa Resort for a retreat in September.
Or come to Wilmington, Louisville, or Loretto holy ground for retreats and SELF care. www.marthacreek.com has all details. Hope to SEE you along the way.
And here is my special gift to you this month.
Click on the box to open your gift.
“Faith is a direction to go in… not a thing.”
~ Martha Creek
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”
~ Khalil Gibran
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
~ Mother Teresa
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