Faith Finds Me: A Moment with Bill Reflection
A Request By a Friend
Now that you know about the Faith article challenge, I would like to pass the baton to you. I received it from MsDora and will be posting my article sometime next week. “
That message was sent to me last week from my friend Denise Anderson. She had just taken part in a challenge for writers, a challenge that consists of writing an article about faith. I am proud to be a part of this challenge. You can see other articles that have been written in this challenge below:
- Faith Without Borders
"Good Words" are spreading all over HubPages and beyond. We practice our faith by tuning ourselves to God’s music, thereby learning to walk in faith.
- Faith and Hope
I was surprised when our one and only, most beautiful Faith Reaper sent me an email about taking the baton of faith from her, following her Faith Without Borders hub. She certainly knows a thing or two about that word and all that it entails and she.
- Faith and Love, Faith is a Teacher
Nowhere can we find such a powerful teacher as faith and love.
- Faith through the Tough Times
Faith does not always follow the praying-believing-receiving pattern. It gets complicated. Finally, the point of mature faith is not the reward; it is the joy and satisfaction of being faithful.
- Faith and Family by Denise W. Anderson
And now, allow me to share my reflections on faith.
I Was Lucky
If one were to look at the definition of faith, one would find that it is a strong belief in something without proof or evidence. That definition is hardly the stuff of confidence for a man who deals in logic, as I do. I like the tangibles in life. If I can see it, feel it, smell it, taste it, and hear it, then it must exist. Pure logic, that, and most of my life is based on it.
As a teacher I was always exhorting my students to show me the proof. Provide me with a logical explanation; convince me with facts and figures; nowhere in that exhortation is there room for faith.
And yet I was raised in a religious home. There was a time, in high school, when I actually considered entering the priesthood, so strong was my belief in something that could not be proven.
So how do I justify this way that I view the world, the need for logical proof, and yet a belief in something totally illogical?
I don’t! It simply is. As much as my logical mind demands verifiable proof, my illogical heart laughs at the folly of believing one can go through life without faith.
I was lucky in that I was raised to question, for it is in questioning that one can come to terms with life and deal with its adversities as well as its rewards. Questioning gives us a solid foundation. Questioning strengthens us. Questioning gives our opinions substance, and questioning forms the core of who we are. I cannot base my beliefs on your questioning. That would be foolish. I cannot form my view of life based on the questioning of philosophers and other intellectuals from days gone by. They can guide me with their teachings; they can force me to look below the surface for deeper understanding; but only determined questioning will allow me to find a path in life that I can be satisfied with.
And so, with the blessings of my parents and family, teachers and spiritual advisors, I was encouraged to question my faith, and this is what I finally found.
On the Path to Enlightenment
On January 9, 1969, I rejected God.
How could an all-loving being take from me my father, a man who was my best friend and my emotional foundation in life? As I held my dying father in my arms, and listened to his last breaths, I cried to God to save him, but my words mixed with the wind, blew gently across the landscape of my sorrow, and disappeared.
God did not exist, and if he did, he was vengeful and not worth my time.
I began my new life free of the stranglehold of dogma. If God had no compassion in my time of suffering, then I would live life without him, and be glad of it.
I found a new god to believe in…..me. I would never let me down. I would always treat myself with compassion and empathy. I could always count on me.
On November 12, 2006, I rejected myself.
A man drowning in self-pity. A man struggling against the rip tide of alcohol. A man who no longer found value in the silly little god he faced in the mirror each morning.
As I sat in that hotel room in Anchorage, Alaska, literally drinking myself to death, I wept. The god of my making had deserted me. I had based my adult life on the belief…the faith….that I could handle it all by myself. I laid down a foundation upon quicksand, and when my structure threatened to, once and for all, crumble and collapse, I had nowhere to turn.
I was left with only one possible solution: I prayed.
I remembered the words of my father, so many years earlier. He was a World War 2 veteran, and he told me one day that there are no atheists in a foxhole. Well on that day, November 12, 2006, I prayed as I have never prayed before. Today I do not remember my exact words. I honestly cannot tell you exactly who I was speaking to in those prayers. I was screaming to the universe. I was imploring any and all to listen, to hear, and to reach out to me. I needed something, someone, anything, for my best plans had brought me to that place of total desperation. All of my questioning, all of my rejecting, all of my magnanimous self-delusions, had led me to….surrender.
I gave up. No mas! Like a beaten fighter, sitting on his stool in the corner, blood pouring from facial cuts, his spirit broken, I was tossing in the towel and asking for an end to my suffering.
The Final Destination
And in that surrender I finally found the meaning of faith.
My father visited me in that hotel room in Anchorage. Was it a hallucination? I have no idea. It was real at that moment, and that is all that matters. He looked at me and smiled. He told me to dry my eyes, and he said it was time for me to stand up and have faith, faith in myself and faith in others. He told me it was all right to lean on those who are stronger, and he told me it was required that I provide comfort and strength to those who were weaker and needed my assistance.
I have done those things for the past eight years, and life is good.
Today I have faith….in myself, in others, and in some indefinable presence I cannot categorize. There are times I drop the ball, and there are times when others disappoint me, but that just means we are all human, and it is in our humanity that I find faith. When I see the look of love that my friend Lizzy gives her two young daughters, I have faith. When I read of random acts of kindness my friend Lea does for others, I have faith.
And when I look in the mirror and see life looking back at me, instead of death, I have faith.
Thank You, and Now It Is Time to Pass This On
I appreciate the opportunity to continue this fine tradition, and now I need to pass it on to someone else….and that someone will be….my good friend Ruby, or Always Exploring on HubPages. Ruby, the ball is in your court. Take your time, my friend. I know the end result will be worth waiting for.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)