Definitely, Maybe.

As the third week of Advent gets underway, listening to the prayer of the day put so many thoughts in my head, I jumped out of bed to try to empty it, lest it be another sleepless night.  The reading comes from Luke 1:5-25.  Normally the readings aren’t this long but I appreciated the singular reading, as they usually read it again and offer different points of reflection.  Tonight, as I listened, I was immediately struck by one particular thing, Gabriel, the angel who appeared to Zachariah told him because he doubted, he was struck mute/dumb until fulfilled in time.  Now let that sink in.  He was struck mute/dumb because he doubted.  He did not believe what the Angel said would come to pass because he and his wife were of advanced years.  The power of doubt.  It gave me great pause because I have doubts, about quite a few things, sometimes that includes G-d.  It gave me great pause because maybe the people we encounter are sent to bring good news to us, after all, the power of G-d most often manifest itself through the actions and words of others, so why is it so difficult for us to believe?

It’s so ironic the things we will and won’t believe.  We believe the meterologist when they attempt to predict the weather. We believe people when they say they will do something or show up somewhere.  We believe people when they say “I love you”.  Zachariah was, at least he is characterized as, a G-d fearing man. Did he lose hope after so many years of not having his desire come to pass?  Seems that way.  Can you imagine being struck mute because you doubted something someone told you, only to have it come to pass later?  Truth be told, I’m not all that convinced he doubted but maybe he was curious as to how.  But, I guess that’s the same thing huh.

When a person gets hired, they are told when they will be paid.  I’ve never heard of anyone asking “How will I know?” Because the person may reply “It will show up in your account or in a live check” that’s how.  Maybe Zachariah had doubts because there was n0 precedent, nothing to show that what was being told to him had ever happened before.  He, like most of us, wanted proof.  He, like some of us, could not, did not want to take Gabriel at his word.  Why do you think that is?  His age?  His wife’s age?  The fact that they’d been “trying” for years with no results.  There was nothing to suggest that a baby was in the cards for them.  I know a few couples who’ve gone through IVF and other measures to have a baby and had no luck and when they stopped “trying” along came baby.

That one passage in this scripture has left me convicted because there are times when my doubts get the better of me.  I don’t mean for them to but human have a way of bringing out the cynic in you.  Our past and current actions tend to dictate future belief or doubt.  The proof is there, we must decide whether or not to believe what comes out of the mouth.  This passage saddened me and inspired me.  It made me reflect on my own doubts and beliefs and questions why I doubted what I did.  Where does my trust lie: in myself, in man, in G-d?  This is always hard to answer because if the Spirit of the Living G-d is housed within us, then if a person says something rather profound to you/about you, why shouldn’t you, wouldn’t you believe it? I’m not saying take all the negative things people say and accept and receive them, that’s nuts. But if someone speaks positivity and it happens to be something that you’ve been secretly or openly desiring, why not believe it? It’s human nature to wonder how but instead of asking How, ask When!  Little children rarely ask how, when told to expect something.  When conveys that you are ready and expecting it to happen.  How conveys you’re not really sure and want to know more details.   I’ve been working on removing How and replacing it with When.  If I can expect good things based off of what a human has told me, then surely I can expect good things from one who has never lied to be, never been wrong – at least not that I’m aware of – and pretty much keeps his word.

Think about this.  Think about the last thing you wanted, doesn’t matter if you verbalized it aloud or kept it hidden in your heart and you actually received it.  Now, imagine if someone had told you, you were going to receive whatever it was you desired but you didn’t believe them and you were struck mute until it happened.  Let me make it simple for you.  Someone says they are going to pick you up, you ask “You sure?” Boom, you’re mute until they arrive to pick you up, whenever that is.  Goes to show there really is great power in the tongue.  Every thought doesn’t need to be verbalized.  But then again, I suspect G-d knew he would doubt, thus using him as a message to others.  He had to point, gesture and use his body to convey his thoughts and the people knew he had seen a vision from G-d.  He will get his point across, BAMN.  Guess that’s why most men today are dumbstruck when a woman tells them she’s pregnant. What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?

#whatailsya

Life Anonymous: Candy Corned Cadbury Candy Canes do exist

Step 2 – Hope

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

What is it that causes us to believe and what exactly is belief anyway? Our friend Merriam Webster says belief is : a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true; a feeling that something is good, right, or valuable; a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone.

Hmmm, seems to me that belief is kin to faith : a strong belief or trust in someone or something.

Came to believe… I think my first encounter with belief was Santa Claus. Don’t know how or why but I’m pretty sure he was my first test of belief, faith and anything related to my dependency (bringing gifts) on another, aside from my parents. I’m sure my first encounter was so foreign to me that I had no concept of belief, let alone belief in someone who I only saw once a year. No, it was not until I was a little older that I really began to BELIEVE in Santa Claus and all the joy and goodness he represented. Deep in my heart, I knew, if I were good, Santa would reward my goodness and bring me everything on my list – which he usually did. Santa Claus was my first, cognizant and recognizable action of belief. Even when I got older and had my belief shattered, I still believed anyway because there is something so pure about believing in something so good and pure. Look how many songs talk about belief. I believe I can fly – really? Don’t stop believing – why not? Believe – Cher; Do you believe in magic – not sure? Dozens of songs talking about belief.

that a Power greater than ourselves…Hmmm, now I’m pretty gosh darn terrific, I mean, I’m no Ali but I’m no glass jaw either, so just who/what could be greater than I. Well, if you’re like me, an answer just leads to another question, so sometimes I try to stop answering. Whether its Creationism, Big Bang, or Made in China, you have to admit, being human and living it a pretty mind blowing thing. Just how did all of this come to be? Yeah, there’s a so-called answer for everything but is it really an answer? When things get messy, we tend to say “Why me?” Who exactly are you asking this question of? If you are just talking out loud, why ask questions, why not make statements instead. Questions imply a desire to know more and if you ask questions of the unknown then it stands to reason that somewhere inside, you still believe in Santa Claus.

could restore us to sanity. Restore : to give back (some one/thing that was lost or taken) : to put or bring (something) back into existence : to return something to an earlier or original condition by repairing it. Furniture, cars, jewelry, bad dye jobs, we’ve all had things restored. You don’t need a great deal of belief with those things, you can see what needs to be restored. Sanity : the condition of having a healthy mental mind : the condition of being sane. We have all the science and technology at our fingertips, why risk something as precious as the health and well-being of my mind to the unknown? See, more questions.

Well, after some long debates with myself, I came up with this; if as a child, I had belief in something so pure and good, something greater than myself, that brought such happiness to my mind, why can’t I have that belief as an adult? In fact I do, still believe in Santa Claus, everyday. Everyday, I am sure of my being and all that I have and see. I trust myself and some things and people around me. Some of those people and things do in fact have great power over me (worldly speaking of course) and when I have been or am being robbed of my sanity, some of the things some of those people have can most assuredly restore my sanity (booze, pills, exercise, painting, whatever). In a word, I have hope. As a child I had the sincerest expectation and confidence that Santa would bring me my gifts. Every morning I have the sincerest expectation and confidence that I will be able to stand, walk, move about, car starts, bank card works, computer doesn’t crash, arrive accident free and anything else I can think up and I do with every second of every day under the guise of hope. I sincerely expect all those things because to not expect them would cause severe trauma to my mental state. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, even the Great Pumpkin; all have something in common. All require belief in the essence of something not truly representative of themselves. Our parents were/are Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, the Great Pumpkin and even God before we came to know and understood who God really is, so is believing in something greater than yourself really such a bad thing, especially if the only reason for believing is to maintain a healthy mind?

I’m not big on the Easter Bunny, the treats are too sweet but I love the premise and pretty colors. The Great Pumpkin is always late, poor Linus and I never could figure out the Tooth Fairy. I lost my wisdom teeth and didn’t get jack squat, as a result, my mind was left in an unhealthy mental state, but God and Santa Claus, I’ve never experienced so much mental happiness. Ask any kid about Santa Claus and you can see the restoration of sanity right before your eyes. Amazing isn’t it. So glad I’m born during the most wonderful time of the year, although some people do lose their minds and tend to over extend Santa, but that’s a topic for another day.

Jessie Jackson was right. Keep hope alive.