We are being told exactly what to do. Stay home. Wash hands. Practice social distance. Our options have become very limited and our movements highly controlled. I trust we are all doing the right thing and our part. But doing the right thing does not necessarily lead to a sense of peace or comfort or calm. Many of us are in a place of psychological and spiritual dis-ease. These are not easy times.
In addition to taking seriously our part in flattening the curve, there is this new additional responsibility upon all of us: keeping the Faith.
The worry, anxiety, and stress of this novel situation we find ourselves in are HEAVY. These forces are pushing down on us. We have lost so much in such a short period of time: freedom of movement, our routine, access to the pillars of our lives which uphold everything. A job, school, the gym, volunteer work, spending time with friends and family...closed, limited and banned. We have been disrupted. And we do not know exactly what is in front of us, our vision and understanding of “the future” has become blurry towards darks. Right now, today, that next step in the staircase of life is pretty damn hard to see. Please enjoy this movie clip as an essential visual for this blog post... https://youtu.be/xFntFdEGgws
This is where faith comes in. Faith in God, the Universe, Love...whatever you call it, I hope it is within you. I am sure it is. We emit subtle levels daily. But faith exists MOST for times like this. It is the light in the dark. And it is faith that has led us along the dark path back into the light. We have experienced this again and again since we have been journeying together as a people. Walking towards light even when we could see it not at all.
What is faith?
First off, it is not blind. Faith without wisdom and knowledge is empty. It is the blind leading the blind. Faith is taking all the wisdom and knowledge of the world, culled by human minds of the millennia, and employing it to help us light the way.
For example, Scientific Researchers who are developing a Covid-19 vaccine give me faith.
I know it is not “if” but “when”-this vaccine. We already have vaccines for diseases far more dangerous and disruptive than Covid-19. I have faith in the scientists’ willingness to fail and try again. And again. And again. I have faith that those who commit themselves to the science of healing the body of this planet from this disease, will keep working tirelessly until they find a cure, a vaccination, some way of slowing this down and protecting our population.
Faith is made up of persistence, curiosity, endurance and a sense of purpose- all the qualities of a good scientist. Scientists working on a Covid-19 vaccine have all of this. They keep on keeping on. They gain more understanding of the path ahead, can see more clearly that next step, with every failure. Through patiently watching and understanding and learning this virus, they are exemplifying some of the best traits of our species.
Faith is wisdom and knowledge.
Faith is also: Persistence, Curiosity, and Purpose
Faith is also: Understanding and Learning and Patience.
Now is the time to let the scientist, and not just the person of God, teach us faith. Science is also my religion. It is my faith. It is the foundation of understanding reality.
But the person of God (thank goodness) is far from irrelevant in our current worldwide faith journey as humanity. Faith is also kindness.
While the scientists are doing their work, the non-scientist folk, those of us not on the front lines, also have a lot of work to do too. Our task is to address suffering in the now. To extend our hands, virtually now for the most part, toward each other and lift each other up. Our research, in this case, our wisdom, and knowledge, patience, persistence, and purpose come from the art of living. Kindness is now our jobs.
This week I watched as some of the most talented people on earth, the most sought after talents, people like Debbie Alan, Mo Williams, Lin Manuel Miranda, extended themselves to freely share their gifts with us all. This is a kindness that has created much joy and light amidst the fear and anxiety. There is no value that can be put on this type of extension of light into our smaller and smaller worlds. It is priceless. Friends, neighbors, family, and strangers have found ways to spread their kindness, from a distance, so as to engender hope in others. This is faith in action. This kindness.
This is the faithful step forward into the dark.
Extend your right hand and grasp onto the hand of a scientist and let their faith in wisdom and knowledge, their persistence and endurance help you move forward. And then extend the left hand and grasp onto the commitment to kindness and easing the suffering of others in the NOW of the clergy person. Hold onto the hands of those dedicated to what some call “God”...what this lady rabbi calls “Infinite Possibility” and “Universal Love”. Hold on.
You have a scientist on one side of you and a faithful devotee to the spirit of the Universe on the other: now take that step. Like Indie in the movie clip above- feel your heart pounding in your chest. Acknowledge your fear. Look into the abyss. The darkness. Cut this shot, like in the movie clip, to a new one. An image of the suffering of your neighbors or friends, remember them! Take a deep breath and walk forward. It is all we can do. There is only one direction in life. Forward into the dark unknown. Hand in hand.