Notes on the Cycle of Faith: Trusting

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Part 5 of 6 of the "Cycle of Faith" series, which is an exploration of "faith crisis" by way of personal experience, insight, and opinion. 

Read Part 1, "Learning" here.
Read Part 2, "Losing" here.
Read Part 3, "Seeking" here.
Read Part 4, "Finding" here.

To download a PDF copy of the series (so you don't have to read post by post), click HERE.

A few months ago, I attended a women's workshop my therapist was leading. At our third meeting, my therapist asked me to follow her into the hallway for that night's exercise. She explained that she would lead me on a walk but I would be blindfolded and no words would be spoken. I agreed, filled with excited anticipation. She placed the blindfold over my eyes, then led me out the door and the adventure began.

I smiled the entire walk, full of excitement. She held my hand but didn't lead me so much as walk beside me - I practically skipped along, not knowing where we were going but sure it was going to be amazing. I laughed even though I couldn't speak. We stopped, and my hand was placed on a surface. As I moved my fingers and palm along its rough ridges and shallow canyons, small pieces broke off, leaving earthy residue on my palm. I realized I was touching a tree. I grabbed its trunk with both my hands, grateful for the moment we spent together. Soon, I was lead away to explore something new.

I was guided to touch rocks, walls, concrete, and even a trash can which, once I realized what it was, I touched with only a fingertip *OCD shudder*. Along the way, the blindfold started to fall off, but it didn't matter. I kept my eyes closed. A huge smile was plastered on my face for the entire walk. I loved every moment and was sad when it was over. As my therapist removed my blindfold, she asked me to return to the workshop room, silently invite the next person for their turn, and journal my thoughts about the experience. 

After everyone took their turn, we gathered to talk about our different experiences. My therapist explained that this experience was a "Faith Walk", an exercise designed to stimulate our innate faith response. I listened to the other women share their experience. Every one spoke of how scary and difficult it was to trust during the exercise. They explained their anxiety, fear, and confusion. One was disoriented in the darkness. One moved slowly, unsure of the next steps. Some even wondered if something terrible would happen. I was hesitant to share my experience, wondering, "What is wrong with me?" I had a totally different experience from every person present. I was alone in my joy.

"Grow up, Channing," I told myself. "Real life is hardship and tears. Normal people don't skip along in life like they are starring in the Sound of Music. Wipe that stupid smile off your face."

I decided to not listen. My heart has a rebellious kind of beat.

I shared with the group. As I did so, I felt a voice inside my soul say "Nothing is wrong with you. You were made to be different."

This experience showed me my "default setting" is faith.
My very nature is excited and hopeful.
My glass is never half anything - it is always full.
My obedience is not blind because I trust the wisdom of my soul.

Seeing this, I understood.

My purpose is to

see what I see,
know what I know,
lace my words with honey
and speak them,
glow in the dark,
and live patiently;

balance comes in understanding
change takes time
and the food of change is love.
I am someone
and I can do something.
I choose to participate in love.

The Faith Walk blessed me with a deep trust in my heavenly parent's plan and love for me. No longer did I need to be self-conscious about not "fitting in". I could give up my pursuit of perfection. I could face the world with confidence in my purpose instead of feeling burdened by it. I could balance my passions with love.

I finally felt like a new framework was being rebuilt.
Church no longer had my blind obedience.
It would have my full presence, which requires effort to make a place for me - challenges, questions, and all.
If my greatest fear was realized and I was kicked out for being myself and advocating for equality, so be it. My relationship with God is real and sincere. I trust he would work it out between us.
Finally, my faith was in God and not in Church; I saw I have freedom to choose Love and abandon everything that is not.

Honestly, I was partially shocked by my decision to stay a member of the LDS church. I still do not fully understand all the moving parts that brought me to it. I look at the hurting person who wrote parts 1-3, and can't help but feel the magic of transformation.

How is it possible to grow so beautifully from such heartache?

Seeds know.

Butterflies know.

Witches know.
© Channing B. Parker. Design by FCD.