Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Flyin' Leap of Faith

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

It was really his 'blink rate' more than his words that made me sit up and take notice. Sometimes, you have to watch what people say as much as you listen to the words they are saying. You know me: social anthropologist, people watcher, and fraidy cat who's on the prowl for other fraidy cats. I don't miss details like a blink rate.

Thru the magic of technology, I've been able to watch bits and pieces of Richard Branson's CNN/Piers Morgan interview 3 times now. Each time, I'm more impressed with his blink rate. You see it more on a television screen than on Utube, but both get my attention. I recently heard a psychologist analyze blink rates. If we had watched this interview together, I think she would have concurred with me.

I don't think I've ever seen the man uncomfortable. I've watched quite a number of his interviews. He makes you just wanna be him when you grow up. He seems utterly irrepressible, affable, comfortable, and unflappable. So, it was pretty shocking to see him begin to stutter, stammer, and blink like he was in a sandy windstorm without goggles. Boy, was he nervous about the topic.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
He was blinking so rapidly by the end of the discussion on the existence of God that he could barely keep his eyes open. He said, “I wish someone could convince me. I wish they could.” (I don't claim that as an exact quote, but it is pretty close. You can check the transcript or Utube video if you want.) His blink rate told me how desperate he really is to KNOW. To really KNOW at the core of his being. To know once and for all. Is there a Creator GOD vs just a god you can reach via any warm and cozy avenue you choose? Is there a God that would rock his evolutionary awe?

I guess God was trying to tell me something this week. Every time I turned around, I was bumping into someone's spiritual wrestling match. Within 2 days of Sir Richard's interview, I happened across a Good Housekeeping magazine article (Sept 2011) about Meredith Vieira's life after the Today Show. She talked a bit about the decision-making process she went through in deciding to pull the plug.

There it was again. As is so fashionable to do in our politically correct world, she disavowed any inclination towards 'organized religion' and dubbed herself 'a very spiritual person' a la Oprah et al. She went on to describe her angst as she wrestled with her career decisions. Then, she talked about gifts she received from friends, including a 'mediation bowl', and how those prodded her along in her spiritual quest for decision-making guidance.

My inner fraidy cat jumped up and took notice. I could feel the earnestness of her search for something to make life, the universe, and her decisions meaningful. Sadly, not only do I see Richard Branson when I look in the mirror now. I see Meredith looking back too. My mirror is getting really crowded!

Here's the kicker. We live in the information age. Not only is information available, it morphs at the speed of light and threatens to overwhelm. We are more connected than we have been in the history of man. Connectivity increases so rapidly that it seems we will soon be those Star Trek people who communicated by brain waves without using their voices.

Despite all that connectivity, most of us are adrift in a sea of doubt and insecurity. We are all looking for an answer that will fill the void in our souls.
Increasingly, I am understanding that the void is not really empty. It is filled with those questions that taunt us when our minds have grown quiet and no one is around:

Who am I? Why am I here? Why do what I do? How do I fit in God's big plan? What will make my life more meaningful in the time I have left on this earthly journey? Is there really a God.

Here's what I think. No matter how 'comfy' we are with our politically correct assertions that we are 'spiritual' and not 'religious', in the quiet of our souls, we cry out for an unshakeable presence in our lives. We yearn for one that will stand the test and trials of time. Our hearts cry for a foundation that will not abandon or desert us when life is overwhelming. God, the Creator God, put within us the earnest yearning to know him and to keep looking for him until we know he has found us.

You'd think that journey would be easy for me given how I was on a church piano bench at 3 days old. Yea, that one puzzles me too, but here we are. Funny thing but it seems the more I write, the closer He seems. I still don't know the answer to the why's or what's. But, I know that I believe what I believe I believe. I believe with enough tenacity that I have not abandoned my belief despite the painful, puzzling journey of the last decade.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I believe enough to wish Richard Branson could catch a glimpse of what sustains me...even when my heart is full of questions and doubts. When it comes right down to it, this journey involves a flying leap of faith. You get up every morning and decide again to take another flying leap of faith. Face it, we all put our faith in SOMETHING every time we get up and go out of the door into the world. No one could say it better than my husband the day we began this scary journey over a decade ago:

I don't know what else to do but jump. If God catches us, he's God. If he doesn't, he is still God.”

Is your inner fraidy cat crying out to know? Do you see Richard and Meredith when you look in your mirror? Maybe it's time you join me? Take a flying leap of faith! God, the Creator God, is standing there with his arms outstretched saying, “Come on. I'm here! I'll catch you. You can trust me.” Even a fraidy cat like me can see...the leap is worth it. 

1 Corinthians 1:18 (Bible in Basic English)
For the word of the cross seems foolish to those who are on the way to destruction; but to us who are on the way to salvation it is the power of God.

John 3:16 (Bible in Basic English)
For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life. 


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