Today is Easter, a time to celebrate rebirth, life, the beauty of our amazing planet and all the wondrous things she provides for us (in spite or our abuse of her), and most importantly - the love of our Creator for us.
I thought it appropriate to share and reflect on the reemergence of my faith and the profound impact it has had on me.
I had been searching for a while, trying to find a place where I felt I belonged. After much soul-searching and many months of research, I had started attending our local Quaker church. I was enjoying it and looked forward to attending meeting on Sundays. I still didn't feel complete in my faith, but was hoping that maybe by osmosis (surrounded by like-minded people who had found peace and contentment with their faith) and praying really hard, it would happen for me too.
After about 6 months or so of attending semi-regularly, I was getting a little discouraged. It was January and I was heading to my home-town to visit family. This is always an emotional trip for me - has been since the death of my grandmother and the decline in my mother's health and quality of life.
After a day of visiting, I went back to the hotel with my boys and our two dogs. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I just wanted to sleep - preferably at home in my own bed! The boys and dogs were down for the night and I kept thinking of how I really wish that I was at home - that I could attending meeting Sunday morning, surrounded by my spiritual family, seeking His guidance, and hopefully, finally after months, hearing His answers. No such luck!
Bright and Early at the ungodly hour of 6:30a.m. on Sunday morning, J'Shawn, William and the dogs were up and ready to get moving. As our hotel was only a couple of blocks from the beach, I decided to load them all up and head out there.
It was 7:30 in the morning, I unloaded them all from the car and headed for the shore. J'Shawn and the dogs immediately started chasing seagulls up and down the shoreline. William and I sat near the waterline, playing the sand and digging for shells. Everyone was having a wonderful time. I stood up and watched my son, rolling in the sand, wrestling the dogs, enjoying life, not a care in the world. After a few minutes, the dogs, exhausted from the early morning play, came to lie down beside William and me. J'Shawn followed a few minutes later - lying on his back with his head on my lap, watching the birds fly up ahead.
It hit me then, everything at once, I felt more alive than I had ever felt before. I kept praying, going to meeting, trying so hard. It was there all along, Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.
In the midst of all of my "doing", I needed to "just be". Everything that I am, everything that I love, was right there, in front of me, surrounding me - literally, just a fingertip away. I could reach out and touch them - my boys, my sons. The sun was rising over the water on a new day, a glorious day, a new start, that I could make mine. It was a gift to me, I only had to decide what to make of it.
I still attend Meeting with my fellow Quakers, and am finding fellowship, friendship and a greater sense of purpose.
I do not consider myself overly religious and very seldom speak of my faith. Rather, I try to live my life in a gentle way, commit to helping others, speak only kind words, and remind myself everyday of all of the gifts He has bestowed upon us.
I don't always succeed and some days are harder than others, but always, before I go to sleep, I remind myself to "Be still".