This is part of the Daily Post challenge – they pick a topic and we respond. Today’s Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.
Faith? I think I’ve always had it, some days/years stronger than others, admittedly. I remember my first miracle – likely there had been many, but this one, this one stood out tall and remains fresh to this day. I was 17 and I was ditching a lot of school. Not to be cool, just bored out of my mind. It wasn’t that spending time across the street having coffee with the rent-a-cop was more fun, but it was interesting. We had a hotel across the street from the school and I grew so familiar to management that one day they invited me in on a business meeting to get my take on whatever was under discussion. Two or three blocks away was another coffee shop/diner and that grew boring as well. This particular day, I had returned to campus for my accounting class – 12th grade, and I stopped before going in and just sent an urgent prayer upwards: “Please I have to stop ditching and I can’t do it by myself. Help me.” Something like that.
Twenty minutes later, head down, doing an accounting problem, I heard the door open and someone walk by to the teacher’s desk at the front of the class. When I heard my name whispered, I glanced up. A student delivering a message from one teacher to another. Huh. About me. Huh. Couldn’t gleam a thing, but the student, having delivered the message, grinned at me and walked on by. To the best of my knowledge, I wasn’t on Penny’s hit list, so maybe it was good news? As class was ending, the teacher called me over, “Mr. Jorgensen wants to see you during the lunch period.” Mr. Jorgensen (if that was his name) was the drama teacher and he and I didn’t get along. I took drama classes and was in the drama club, but I’d made the mistake of insulting Mr. Jorgensen and he paid me back in full. That year they were putting on The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie and it was my favorite play. I had wanted the role of Sandy, a very smart, sharp student of Brodie’s who ultimately betrays her. I didn’t even make callbacks. The assistant professor actually apologized to me, which is how I knew it was payback. Rehearsals had been ongoing for weeks. I walked into Jorgensen’s classroom. He was seated at his desk doing something and ignored me. Fine. I can outlast just about anybody. He finally looked up and over at me, “Yes?”
“You asked for me.”
He took his glasses off and polished ‘em. “Oh, yes. Well, it turns out the role of Sandy has come available. Do you want it?”
“There is one condition.”
I looked at him warily. “And that would be?”
He studied me with an indifference that was chilling. I had really pissed him off with that comment. “I understand that you ditch class a lot.” Uh oh… “If you miss one of your classes, you will not be allowed to continue as Sandy. I do not care if it is opening night – you will not go on if I find out you have ditched a class. Do you accept?”
“Yes.” I walked out of his classroom on air. It was the one thing I wanted that year, to play Sandy. God had heard my prayer and it took 20 minutes to make it a reality.
That was probably the right place to end this entry. Except…. here’s the thing, those miracles just kept on coming. Maybe it was because I had two Great Aunts that were Mother Superiors of their Orders. Maybe it was because I had three middle names. Maybe it is because God truly looks after drunks and idiots. I grew up in times that were tough, cynical, life-threatening, and barren of beauty and grace. I came of age in the 70′s and it was bleak if you had a romantic bone in your body. The 60′s had thrown out all the rules, leaving nothing to guide us coming up behind them, except on a first date, do you want sex before or after dinner? Bleak, I tell you.
Every time I remembered to yell to God for help, He was there. Day by day, brick by brick, stumbling, falling, year after year, He was there. And, frankly, I don’t care if it is a He/She/It. Something greater than myself was there, actively listening and responding. It is natural to question the existence of God or a Higher Power or the Source – whatever you feel comfortable calling It. I went through the years of cynicism and doubt, disbelief, and the embrace of being lonelier than any other person on earth. God was patient with me, free will was mine to exercise or not. Stuff happened – no need to go into it here, but it is best summed up for me by “I have loved thee with an everlasting love. Therefore I have continued in my faithfulness to thee.” Jeremiah 31:3. That was God talking to me. Well, I come from a family of Marines. Always look after those who watch your six. Semper Fi. May I always have my faith. Because my life is so much richer for it. Thank You, God. Semper Fidelis