Today seems to be a perfect time to visit the past. This sort of compulsion must have been influenced by my lifelong training in the field of health care where I have gained the habit and skill of post- performance evaluation. In healthcare parlance this process is called quality assurance and improvement. Today I am reminded about the rough crossroads I have trodden in my personal path. They looked insurmountable at the time. I am wondering what and how I did to overcome them. I have asked so many questions that ended with why’s but never found the answers. There was a point when fear was succeeding in paralyzing my self-will, stopping me from wanting anything, and making me lose the desire to dream. Nothing could have prepared me for the face-to-face encounter with life’s vicissitudes. Losing the father of my young children in his prime. Raising three young children on my own. Long, sleepless nights filled with worries. Robotic focus at work. Stretching finances day in and day out. The excruciating process has become a blur in my memory. Here I am decades later, still wanting and dreaming.
Life has been better. I have been cheering myself and everyone around me with this belief until a loud knock started shaking my consciousness lately. Fear has come back and this time it has a different face – and it seems to mirror itself in others, around the world. Violence on the streets. Terrorism and mass killings. Ordinary people and innocent children become unwilling victims. My thoughts run wild. My fear keeps growing because there seems to be nothing that I can do to stop it. Killing seems to be looking much easier than sustaining life. I am seeing what could be the worst breakdown in the nature of humanity. I sense common feelings of uncertainty and desensitization on many levels. Maybe a certain amount of denial is necessary for one to keep going and surviving. Another question surfaces… do we have a chance to bequeath a safe world to our young? As a child I thought and believed that all religions were good. As an adult I see how religions can divide instead of unite. Why can’t gentle and forgiving love be the only religion?
I still find no answers.
Sometimes when hope is thin, I search for my faith and the only way I can find it is to say a prayer. I have learned so many prayers as a young child but this time I am not doing what my teachers have taught me. I am praying differently. No formulas. No script. Only conversations with God. My body stays awake but it’s my soul that speaks, for only it knows the depth of my need. I have learned that prayer is the act of allowing myself to float on the ocean of complete silence while centering all my energy into the core of my being without an iota of ill will, then letting it go into the universe to wait for its return with the gift I am looking for. Imagine if this energy is magnified and compounded by many souls. Imagine how much force that would be to leave the universe with no choice but to respond! This is the science of prayer. My faith tells me to believe in its power.
There is a war being waged in the world outside and within. I have come to a realization that I can control only one of them. That is, the war within. With faith I can live with my fear and feelings of vulnerability. I can get up every morning and face work cheerfully. I can keep on feeling joy in the company of my children and grandchildren, family, and friends. I can keep seeing beauty in the blooms and keep hearing divine voice in music.
My faith keeps me going. Maybe it is what can keep us going. I choose to keep it for there is nothing else left to protect me. Is there?