Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pistevo: Why Do You Believe?

Why do you believe? It’s another haunting question. What is the root of your thoughts and beliefs in the world? Do you believe that all men are evil because of some past experience? Or that all women are inevitably control freaks because you have met one too many who exude this characteristic? What drives thought? Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you believe that people will always disappoint you so much so that you aren’t willing to trust? Why are you always waiting to be hit and you expect it? How is it that this has become the norm?

We live what we believe. One can say as much as you want, but one’s true beliefs and closely held values shall bleed out into one’s actions. Allow me to use myself as an example. About a month ago, I chatted with a friend and he told me that I believed that men could not be trusted. This surprised me because I do not vocalize that belief. However, he knew already just by living life beside me over the past two years. I know I do not trust easily. Yet, I thought I was decent. I never had to tell my friend that I have a hard time trusting men. He just knew from life. Now, I cannot explain quite yet why I have difficulties trusting men. That’s an entirely other journey for me to explore solo and in time I may share it. However, this thought that men are not trustworthy permeates the way that I live and navigate through life. Somewhere along the way this idea has cemented itself as some sort of value in my life. Values are the root of one’s action.

I believe that socks belong on feet. This is a value that I cling to. Therefore, I wear my socks upon my feet. Perhaps it is because this was taught to me by not only my mother but it is also culturally and socially acceptable. However, I have worn socks on my hands and I find this to be quite comfortable especially in the winter when my fingers resemble icicles in temperature.

A wild momentary belief of mine is that apples actually fall up. However, we would not know this because we are confused in our perspective of the world. You see, we humans actually are individually suspended to the earth by invisible cables. These cables are designed in such a way that they make everything appear to be falling down. Yet, in fact, things are falling up. In this way, an apple falls up from the tree branches to the ground. In time, the seeds take root. These roots provide life. Although not visible to the human eye, these roots are the values of the tree. Why do I believe all of this? Simply because this whimsical idea caught my fancy and I like the idea.

Why do I believe that a relationship with Jesus Christ is crucial in life? Once upon a time, I tried to imagine my life without Him. I could. I did. It was purposeless. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Life would be fun. I would still be a deep thinker, but I’d probably be a bit of a skank. I would be a feminist. I would control everything shamelessly. And I might be dead.

“Wait.” You say. “But, you are such a good person! That can’t be true.”

Let me assure you that the above is very possible. Oh, it may seem extreme, but life is full of extremity. My innate self does not desire goodness. I would much rather run wild or live in an eternal pathetic party than surrender my life and my control over to this higher being that has been considered fictional by others. What is the purpose of life? Well, it could just be one huge party. However, that would not satiate this desire to have purpose and leave a legacy. After all, death is inevitable. If death is our final destination and the only purpose of life is to please self, then let’s just escalate the process and die.

This past week, I was talking to a friend about the upcoming musical auditions. She was proclaiming her intense desire to be in the musical because it was the very pulse of her heart. Her intensity scared me because I wanted her to not be disappointed. When she asked me if I was audition, I replied, “Yes, I am auditioning. If I don’t get in, that’s fine with me. You see, I’ll help out with it anyways. I just want to be a part of something that is bigger than myself.”

If I live my life solo for my own pleasure and the pleasing of my friends, I am a part of nothing - only a cycle of mutual pleasing. I want more in life. Dear friends, I love you greatly but there must be more to life than just trying to be a people pleaser. I have been offered the opportunity to participate in a family that has been growing, struggling, and learning for the past 2000 or so years. Not only does that make me a part of a legacy, it gives me an opportunity to be a part of a continuing legacy. We are most definitely dysfunctional, but that doesn’t make me stop loving this family any less. It may seem corny to say that I am a part of God’s family, but it’s the very core of my life purpose.

“There are pictures of the people in my family where we look like the most awkward and desperate folk you ever saw, poster children for the human condition. But I like that, when you get to see something real and human. I think that's why most of us stay close to our families, no matter how neurotic the members, how deeply annoying or dull - because when people have seen you at your worst, you don't have to put on the masks as much. And that gives us license to try on that radical hat of liberation, the hat of self-acceptance; we're allowed to escape from underneath one of the fatwas.”
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

I believe in the importance of family, the body of Christ. I believe that my relationship with God is the best thing that I have to offer the world. I believe that I will continue to screw things up, but that I will always yearn after God’s ways. I believe that God has saved me from myself multiple times. Why do I believe this? It’s personal, you see, I have seen the evident hand of God in my life. It’s been in small ways and big ways. One day, God might choose to spare me from a multitude of ticks and mosquitoes while all my other companions were plagued by them. Another day, God completely and totally removes a huge struggle and shame-filled activity from my life. Oh, don’t you dare tell me that the ticks don’t like me or that I was able in my own self to spare myself from that previously mentioned activity. After all, I have likeable blood. I’m 0+. Oh, and that activity. I tried to stop. I couldn’t.

“People see God every day, they just don't recognize him.” ~Pearl Bailey

When I dance with the wind because I do dance with the wind, I know that God has a grin across His face. I believe He and I are great friends. Why do I believe that He is so intimately involved in my life? Once when this woman was in Panama, a rugby ball was being tossed around. I was a bit angry, cynical, and tired of people. I growled between terse lips to my friends, “If that ball hits me, I will kill somebody.” I hadn’t even gotten the words fully out of my mouth before this ball hit me square in the back. I could feel God smirking and laughing. Guess what. I didn’t kill them. Instead, I shook my head at God’s sense of humor and accepted their rushed apologies.

Why do you believe?