Thursday, March 24, 2011

Faith Through Doubt

So recently I shared I have been experiencing a period of doubt. I have been struggling with trying to stay focused on the Light of Christ while feeling darkness ever encompass me.

Then... my friend Clarissa was in a severe car accident almost two weeks ago. And I have found, at a time I would have been expecting to feel even more lost, that God feels more near.

This past Saturday, while members of my church were participating in some Lenten charity work of feeding the hungry, I drove to St. Barbarians to do some charity work of my own with Clarissa, who had been admitted after developing a fever a few days after the accident. Okay, so while it was charity that drove me, the only work involved navigating the winding, one-way track of road and visitors' lot at the hospital.

Clarissa and I at Chili's, February of last year



Even though Clarissa is only two months older than me, she has always seemed so much more mature. We work together, and while I can often be found schleping into work in jeans and UGGs, she's usually in some chic ballet flats, nice hose and belted, lady-like dress with matching cardigan. She also has been married longer and has an adorable one year old daughter. Anyway, upon walking into her hospital room, I was struck by how baby-faced she looked, with her hair braided back and dressed in those stupid, indiscreet robes given to all patients.

She had just come back from an ultrasound to check on her unborn baby, and she was worried. "The tech didn't even say how the baby is doing. She only had the sound on for a minute, so I wasn't sure if what I heard was the heartbeat. And then she just said 'the doctor will speak to you later about the results'."

I felt worried, too. Sure, the ultrasound tech could have just been following the rules by referring questions to the doc, but what if she was avoiding delivering some seriously bad news? Not sure of what to say, I said in earnest, "I'll pray."



An hour later, I headed out, but saw a sign for the hospital chapel. Hey, they might be a so-so Catholic hospital, but at least they've still got a place to pray. I went into the small, quiet interfaith chapel and found a kneeler in a corner, under a faux-stained glass window. I pulled out my little Anglican Rosary, recently purchased, not yet used. I fumbled in my bag for a peek at the prayer booklet that came with it, and chose the only prayer I know by heart, "The Agnus Dei". After all, what Clarissa needed- we all needed- was God's mercy, His peace.

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Later in the evening, my phone vibrated from a text sent by Clarissa. I nervously opened it. It simply said, "Baby is ok eight weeks six days". I breathed out deeply and said aloud, "Thank you, Lord."

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It's strange how when I felt I might not have God in my corner, I found myself running from that little dark space to find Him. I wound up in another corner, a literal one, tucked away in a hospital, praying frantically for mercy and peace. Peace.... peace in a place that had taken some from me. Peace..... in a place christened after a saint known for... peace.

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Over on Explore Truth, Veron recently posted on the topic of "Doubt", featuring a series of videos by Peter Rollins. The first one on Mother Theresa, really stuck out after this weekend.




Even Mother Theresa had her doubts! But she didn't let it hold her back on her journey, instead, walking by faith, and doing an unmeasurable amount of good at the same time.

Maybe that is the heart of faith... taking those steps when everything appears to be shrouded in dark.

"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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