Category Archives: Life Lessons

Finding Faith (#1 Wisdom along the Way)

 

Faith, like a flower, starts with a seed.

A simple whisper at the beginning of time blossoms into surety and confidence in that which we know for sure.

It is not a stationary or stagnant arrival, but an unfurling along the pathways of our life.

Faith, as intangible as it may seem, becomes the sinew that holds us together on our journey.

This mystical, magical, supernatural gift of a soul to unwavering knowing, believing and being, seems to happen in a myriad of ways. For me, it’s been a journey.

Often we grow up listening to our parent’s or elder’s beliefs, faith or religion. Frequently these same things we subconsciously adopt or reject. But have we took them off the shelf of our mind and moved them into the personal realm of our heart and soul, as our own?

My Faith Journey has been gloriously messy.

In my late teens and early twenties I was very positive of my faith. I would have told you I was a Christian. I would have told you a hundred things I would never do. I would have told you a set of hard and fast rules I lived by. I had faith in myself and really, nothing else.

Then my first child was born. I took one look at that miraculous little human and truly knew for the first time in my life that God was absolutely real. With that realization a chain reaction began in my life. This new thing I now knew: that without a doubt there was God. What else did I truly, gut wrenchingly know?

I found out I didn’t know, as in really have Faith, regarding that many things or people or principles in my life.

I could parrot a lot of what I had been taught. But I didn’t own, at a soul level, many of my ‘for sures.’ Like, ‘for sure,’ I would never: divorce, lie, cheat, have an affair, declare bankruptcy, drink too much, over eat, let someone see me cry, hit my child, be depressed, scream in public, go out without make up on, go to the grocery store in pajamas, be homeless, not pay my bills, become overweight…Then there were my ‘rules’ such as: Perception is everything…We work hard and play hard…etc… Were these my faith?

I now know that those are not ‘things’ for me to have faith in. Plus I failed at most of them! My behaviors and personal rules have very little to do with my faith and everything to do with the outcome of what my faith is. But they are not my faith.

Faith is so much deeper than something I said about myself or something I did or did not do.

So I went on a Faith exploration mission.

Faith, for me, had to do with God. At least that was where I was grabbed. I had this deep seated, organic, earthy, ethereal, wondrous nagging to know more. Faith might grab your attention at a sunrise, or a tragedy or a symphony. Really, there is no telling where you may first hear the whisper of Faith, calling you.

I do believe that Faith does keep whispering until we hear. And when we do hear, Faith sings a siren’s song pulling us deeply into the quest for more.

Because my Faith quest had to do with God, I began reading the Bible (or at least trying to). It didn’t make a lot of sense to me, so I found a church that taught the Bible. Both were good. But they weren’t this Faith thing calling me. I visited other churches. I went on spiritual retreats all over the country. I began to hear the voice of God through the teachers and pastors and books and wind and rushing water and waves and silent misty mornings. I began to see God on mission trips, in the faces of homeless people and the faces of CEOs, in the beautiful deeds of selfless people and in the ravages of war torn countries, and in the rebirth of the land every Spring and every morning in the sunrise.

I met Jesus of Nazareth. Not only in doctrine and theology. Not only in church and the Bible. Not only in other people. Not only in the beauty of creation. Not only in my own family. But also in the quiet still small voice that whispered through my soul. In my dark places. In my pain and in my grief. In my wonder and in my joy. In the mystery of not being able to clearly define, describe or logically explain this divine presence that had overtook my life.

I had found Faith. My Faith lies in Jesus. I have Faith that Love is the answer.

My call to you is not a call to Jesus. That is not my job.

Instead, I encourage you to listen to the whispers calling you. Seek that which draws your soul into a larger story. Unearth the delight, comfort and joy of Faith on your journey.

Who Am I to Talk About Wisdom?

 

For the longest time I have had the desire to share, in writing, life’s lessons gained on this journey. I call those lessons: Wisdom. I have thought about it, talked about it and even made some notes about it.

Then this:

Does this ever happen to you? Those pesky questions, like:

Who do I think I am to: write, teach, do art, run a business, start a business, lead a project, run a race, try out for that, sing, apply to that school, dance, speak, make a difference, etc…? I am sure you can fill in the blank for yourself.

Or maybe even a deeper self statement comes up. One that goes to the core of who we are. Something like: I have nothing of value to say. I am not: good enough, wise enough, pretty enough, smart enough, capable enough, tough enough, savvy enough, lovable enough, thin enough, strong enough to _________ (fill in the blank). Or, I am too loud, too much, too naive, too slow, too under-qualified, too old, too young to _________ (fill in the blank).

Wisdom is one of those topics that can bring these questions and thoughts knocking on my door.

There are even some quotes that come to my mind when I think of writing anything about wisdom:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in the this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. -The Bible, 1 Corinthians 3:18.

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. – William Shakespeare.

I remember these quotes.

And I feel shame enter the room at the thought of daring to write about such a topic.

Then I take a deep breath.

I expose my deeper fears to the light.

With courage, I move forward.

I remember that courage can’t even be present if I am perfectly comfortable with something. Heck, so much of what we do that moves us forward is outside our comfort zone, involves change and/or risk and sometimes even terrifies us. Courage involves acknowledging those voices and trudging forward.

Which brings me back to my original question.

Who am I to write about wisdom?

I can answer this with both who I am AND who I am not.

I am not someone who has All the Answers or Everything figured out.

I am a student of life. I have been on this planet for over half a century. I am a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a wife, a friend, a creative, an artist, a business owner, a writer, a lover of beauty, a lover of nature, a hearer, a listener and I am a seeker. I have walked through some deep valleys and rested on a mountaintop or two. I have done the dance of two steps forward and one step back, and sometimes ten steps back. AND I am still doing all these things!

I used to think I would arrive at this destination called: Grown Up and Life Figured Out. What I am learning is that there may not be such a place. It’s actually a huge relief!

This, for me, is the wisdom I would like to share; simply the lessons I have walked in and through on my journey. My lessons may or may not resonate with you. That is okay with me. In fact I welcome a conversation!

I want to write about what I’ve learned as a legacy to my children and their children. I have a beautiful grand baby. He is one of my favorite people. I have such outrageous love for him. I am so proud of and in love with my husband, sons and daughters-in-love. I want them to know how their lives and wisdom have affected me and my journey. I want them to know the lessons I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made and maybe, just maybe, help them on their journey. If I were to die tomorrow I don’t long to leave a legacy of things – I would rather leave a wisdom legacy of love.

I had a deep desire as a younger person for a mentor, a teacher, a cheerleader to come along side my life. I knew there was a more excellent way to walk through this life.  I read every book I could find. I went to seminars and conferences. I took classes. I spent years in counseling. I journaled. I prayed. I sought Jesus. I cultivated wise friendships. I still do everyone of these things. I always will.

My hope, is in writing about wisdom,  a conversation will develop. I am hoping encouragement will happen. I am writing to not only future generations, but to a younger me. 

I am not claiming to be All Wise.

I only desire to share some Wisdom I have Learned along the Way.

 

Photo Credit: Danielle-Cohen.com

What is Wisdom?

Some say the elephant is wise, others say the owl. To some wisdom is an animal, to others a person, a parent or a mentor. To others wisdom is a philosophy, a religion or God.

According to Merriam Webster:

Definition of wisdom
1. a : accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge
b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
c : good sense : judgment
d : generally accepted belief
2. a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
3. the teachings of the ancient wise men

According to the Christian Bible Reference Site: In the Biblical sense, wisdom is the “ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.” (Lockyer p. 1103)

For me: Wisdom is a journey. It is a chosen path based on experience, failure, success and perseverance. I have often learned more and become more wise by my failure than through my success. There is just something more true about the ability to fall down, shake it off and get back up again to try again. The sheer resilience, the hope found in overcoming – just doesn’t happen in the easy ‘win.’

And you know what else? The wisest women and men I have met will not claim to have ‘it’ all together. Instead they tell the story of their life, the wisdom journey that accumulated over years, and tears and sweat. Yet when I listen to the details of their life experience, I hear the interwoven choice of joy. This joy seems to show up by sheer will in the face of incredible opposition. I am always humbled and honored to sit at the feet of those who care to share their life lessons with me.

Wisdom is portrayed as a woman in the Bible. I kind of really like that, probably because I am a woman… Proverbs 4:5-9 says:

Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 

Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
    embrace her, and she will honor you.
 She will give you a garland to grace your head
    and present you with a glorious crown.

 There are wisdom traditions throughout our world and history. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Vedanta, Daoism; all manner of religion or philosophy call upon the people to grow in this practice or knowledge. Wisdom seems to be a large part of the path to maturity and completely transformative to our nature. Think hot headed person vs. wise person and you probably just formed a complete mental picture of each.

So how do we find this Wisdom Path? Must we fail so frequently as to become discouraged, depressed or even victimized before we get wise? Maybe. Are there books and teachings to follow to avoid the shortcomings of not yet being wise? Probably. Are there people that are alive and breathing that are more wise than ourselves to glean from? Absolutely!

What if we stepped out and began seeking wisdom? What if we shared the wisdom we have learned, stumbled upon or been hit over the head with? What if we had discussions concerning wisdom?

I don’t know about you, but I personally missed wise counsel – probably by no ones fault but my own. I am sure pride got in my way. Not just pride of knowing ‘it’ all but also pride that created a barrier for me to ask for someone else’s wisdom. I had no wisdom practice. I looked for no teacher.

Society today no longer lives in a familial network of generational wisdom in the same house, sometimes not even in the same community. We don’t honor Wise elders. In fact we don’t even like the word ‘old’ or ‘elder.’ Outside of certain Universities or religions, we don’t even consider wisdom.

One of the things that I so would have appreciated as a younger person was someone to come along side me and share what they had learned with me. Not in a judgemental, ‘You Should…’ sort of way, but in a, ‘Here is what happened and what I found/learned…’ sort of way. I knew I wanted a different way than the way I grew up – I desired something kinder, more loving and wiser. Now I can be that person to my younger self. In NO way, shape or form do I proclaim to have this thing called ‘life’ figured out. But I have learned a lot, I have come a long way. I bet you have too! At age 50, I am deciding to share the lessons I have learned and the wisdom I have gained a long the way.

In the next days, weeks, months I am choosing to write the lessons I wish I knew when I was in my twenties (and 30’s and 40’s – I didn’t say I was a fast learner). I hope you will jump in and enjoy the Wisdom discussion with me! I would love to hear what wisdom means to you!