Thursday, August 6, 2009

'Cause I Gotta Have Faith

O.K., so quoting George Michael right before I talk about my having faith may not seem like the most appropriate way to go, but I had to start somewhere. I tend to believe we listen to music and take away what we want anyway, so why not use George Michael?

Lately, in the last several months my family and I have been hit with some pretty weird and wonderful stuff. On one hand we have had to battle some the strangest, time consuming crap I think I have ever seen. On the other hand some really amazing things have happened and I am bowled over by the magnitude of how wonderful it all is. I live smack dab in the middle of a dichotomy.

Recently, I have been ill. I had what started out to be the flu and turned into cellulitis. My arm had a large, red, hot spot on it that seemed to grow before my very eyes. I knew, as a nurse, this was a potentially dangerous sign, so I called the doctor and got myself seen. Normally I would not want to rush in, but I couldn't help but feel this was a sign that things had the potential to get ugly. Sure enough, it was what I suspected and I was put on antibiotics. The very next day my other arm had two new spots with the same symptoms. I held off making another panicked call to see if the antibiotics would take care of the situation. I figured another 24 hours wouldn't kill me, or at least I was hoping. Staph infections don't spread that way, or so I thought. I had no entry spot that we could find and the whole thing became a medical mystery as to why I had those particular symptoms and where it originated. I could have panicked. Maybe I should have panicked. This was certainly a situation that called for it. Instead, what I did was call on my friends and family to pray for me.

The doc pulled out a giant capsule of antibiotics from her arsenal to fight this big, bad bug, while I pulled out my own big guns. As a retired nurse I am all for medication as needed. I wasn't going to just pray my way out of this. My mama didn't raise any dummies, however I also knew I had things at my disposal I could call on to help my sorry situation out that were bigger than anything Western medicine could offer.

I am not religious, per say, I am faithful. I go to church to practice what I know to be true. But church is something I take with me all the time. "When two or more are gathered in My's church." Just as I had hoped, my peeps came out in full force and threw my name up to the heavens and here I am on my way to being healthy again after about 3-4 weeks of being laid out.

Most medical folks, who live long enough, see things that can't be explained by science. I know I sure have. My current outcome might be explained away by some who refuse to see the bigger picture of what having faith can do for a body as well as a soul. While I am very grateful to have the antibiotics needed to help combat whatever this strange anomaly was, I am more grateful for the loved ones in my life who prayed along side of me for a cure. I believe it was the combination that has allowed me to heal.

Several months ago I met a woman who was interested in my book and possible work outside just writing. I described the book's premise about gratitude and how my faith guided me through things. "Ooooh, the mainstream folks won't like the religious connotation to your work, so avoid that if you can", she said to me. Then she said "Think of what your hook is. What is it that you can teach through your writings that will work in a professional setting."

I have spent months throwing a prayer up to God asking if it was possible to separate out the faith aspect in my life to create teachable moments. The irony of me praying for a sign, or guidance how to take God out of the equation of my story made me laugh. I believe God has a sense of humor, so I was certain He got the joke. There is no teachable moment in any of my stories that doesn't include my faith. Without my faith in a higher being, I got bupkis by myself. I haven't done anything alone to get where I am. God has either intervened directly or through others to help me throughout my entire life. I have had more than a few miracles in my day, that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a greater being than me has taken control when I was completely at a loss.

I realize that there are those who stand in judgement of everybody who doesn't think like they do and that puts people off of religion. I have had my share of run-ins with those who would condemn me before they were sure where I stood. I am secure in my relationship to the Big Guy so I just let them go. My faith has never been about earthly stuff or people, so the idea that a human could squash it isn't in my realm.

I can't separate out my faith from who I am, anymore than I can separate out my eye color, height or love for music. It is a part of me. It is as much a part of me as the way I sneeze in threes, or laugh inappropriately when things get too heavy. I may never have a career that can be a one size fits all, mainstream type where I can shed my faith like an overcoat. I have considered what not letting go of my "religious" life may cost me. The truth is, giving it up for any length of time, for any reason, I think has the higher price.

I sit here typing, being very grateful for the opportunity to feel healthy. I thanked God this morning for all my friends and family who covered me in their prayers and helped pull me out the clutches of the bad bug. I will take every last capsule of the antibiotics, so that chemically I am doing all I can from my end, but I will continue to say "thanks" for the blessing I have gotten from wrapping my faith around me.

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