Friday, April 9, 2010

Finding Faith

Like best friends and family who nurture us daily, books provide a source of inspiration, nourishment, and reinvention. Whether I turn to A Girl of the Limberlost, my favorite Gene Stratton-Porter morality novel for young readers, a legacy that has been passed through three generations of women in my family, or Jan Karon's At Home in Mitford and the Mitford novels, books provide solace and sources for normalizing cancer.

Not everyone develops the same degree of coping skills because everyone's cancer journey is different, predicated on variables of type, staging, environment, and stressors. Similarly, normal, like truth and all abstract nouns, depends on perception. Our definitions are individual, connotative, and exist in flux and relativity. Growing up in a quaint historic town, I lived in a funeral home around the corner from my playground, an equally historic cemetary. Pushing a baby carriage for my teddy bear, I blanketed my portable early 1950s radio and bear friends as my Mother and I strolled through Nisky Hill. Never, until I was much older, did I understand why, in those early days of emerging portable technology, people fled from us in the cemetery. Now this memory evokes nostalgic smiles, but today, as then, it was my normal.

Still, I have often mused about the ric-rac of life's fabric, and how we navigate sometimes erringly through what assumes the pattern of a cardiogram gone bad. Why do bad things happen to good people. The answer is profoundly simple for me and resides in a segment of Karon's At Home in Mitford.
Faith, by its very nature, must be tried.... What God does with our faith must be something like workouts. He sees to it that our faith gets pushed and pulled and stretched and pounded, taken to its limits, so its limits can expand.
Finding faith re-roots me in daily life. Like Jan Karon's quotation from her novels, "I have learned a lot about how to pray and how to deal with my passions and my enemies." While I do not identify people as enemies, for that is far too strong a word and I have come a long way, finding faith, re-discovering how, why, and when to pray, and for whom and what, has grown my spirituality. So have my best friends and family.

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