One of my favorite songs in college was “Faith” by George Michael. Back then I know I loved it for the slightly raunchy lyrics and incredible beat that always helped me finish the last uphill mile of my runs. Now when I think of this song it has an entirely different meaning. It brings back fond memories of a time so long ago, when things were just a lot easier. When I had guy friends who had my back and watched out for me as much as my girlfriends did. I think of being able to run, by myself, around campus (during the day) and not worry that I would be assaulted. I didn’t fear going to work at an afternoon program at a local elementary school where open doors were the norm and my biggest worry was how many games of dodge ball I had to play.
Life, as I knew it, is no more and I have been mourning that lately.
Not for myself but for my children.
They tell me I’m strict and “way overprotective” because I won’t let them walk by themselves to their friends house on the next block. I blame it on “the world that we live in today” but that’s just another scapegoat. It is me throwing up my hands and saying “oh well, it is what it is and I guess I’ll just deal with it.” I can’t and won’t be that person anymore, living in my own self pity and chiming in on the statements of “what has the world come to?”
My grandmother used to say that, so that makes me believe that things looked bad in her day too. She probably wondered what kind of a world that her children were growing up in. They had Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust, Segregation and Elvis (who is mild compared to today’s standards), Vietnam, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It goes on of course and those were awful things that occurred during her lifetime so, I guess that I can deduce that in life terrible things happen. Things that shake us to our very core…and we need to mourn. And then we need to get up and begin to look for the good again.
That’s where faith comes in. It can be shaken but then you need to make the commitment to rebuild it again. It’s not easy. It can be dirty and ugly and you may just want to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep, which is fine but then you lose. We cannot block out the light and we can only live in the darkness for so long before we crave the feeling of warmth on our skin and the brightness that makes our eyes squint.
I like to think of faith like this . . .Michelangelo started with six tons of marble that he was commissioned to make into something amazing. Some days he probably left there, marble rocks in his shoes, dust in every crevice imaginable, cuts and blisters on his hands, sore back. There were days he probably felt like heading out for a few glasses of red wine with his friends instead of hanging around with a massive piece of rock. But just because he felt that way didn’t mean he had to give into it and after four grueling years he unveiled the masterpiece we know as David.
Even though Michelangelo couldn’t see the end result he believed in it. He looked to the light when the darkness tried to overtake him, wiped the dust from his eyes and squinted into the sun. He believed.
So that’s faith and it applies to all things. It’s looking to God and saying, “Ok, where do I go from here?”
Maybe we can begin with letting ourselves feel the sun on our faces again, getting rocks in our shoes and getting dusty and dirty. A lot of hard work and a little George Michael to keep us going.