Ugh. Son of a bitch. Fifty-three, and I still only mostly trust the bad stuff. The good stuff, the stuff I don't trust, when that happens, it's always a surprise. Even so, I wait for the other shoe to drop. Sometimes I feel as if I am walking through a minefield only I can see. The traps are many and deadly, and their placement has no rhyme or reason.
Nowhere is safe.
I'd like to say that it's gotten better. And you know, at times, it has. There are times, when my faith fairly pulses with life, when I fit inside my own skin and my own head, when I am not hungry or angry or lonely or tired - it is infinitely better then. I trust. Not just that the good stuff will happen, but that the bad stuff most likely won't. Or, that even if the bad stuff does, or the good stuff doesn't, it's still all good. Because that's just stuff that happens around me. It' isn't me. It is not God's cosmic party joke of pulling the rug out from underneath my feet like the bad magician does to the tablecloth. It's not karma, payback for sins real and imagined (and trust me: I have an awesome imagination).
Stuff happens. Or doesn't. And life continues, in all its glory and joy and pain and wonder and delight.
Like I said, this is me, on a good day.
Me on a bad day? Minefield, laced with quicksand and evil spells. And faith that is, if not absent, infinitely small. And while I would love to live in the drama of woe-is-me, this is Elul, and so I am called to right-size my life, my belief, my thoughts and fears. Small as that faith is, microscopic, and if it were sound it would be pitched so that only dogs could hear it - it is enough.
You get the picture. My faith shrinks. And my ability to trust - really trust. not just wait for the horrors of life to visit themselves upon me - is directly proportional to that faith. Here's the curious thing though. Even when I am stuck in that waiting line of dread, I can (to mix a metaphor; sorry!) step back. I can, disconnectedly and dispassionately get out of the way (sorry, one more mixed metaphor) and leap.
Sometimes, life is hard. And you're afraid. Or I am; you may not be. And you're - I am - tired, and a little lost, and kinda broken and lonely and maybe you skipped lunch and the noise was too loud and the damn air conditioner broke-- or not. It could just be one of those beautiful, sunny, blessedly cool and non-humid days, and the sky is a liquid blue and everything is just going right. Sometimes it's one of those days.
And you're asked - I'm asked - to trust. Something. Someone. Some Deity. And I freeze. And I can't. And my faith has taken a powder and I am defenseless in a very scary world.
But you do it anyway. You leap. I leap, as if the dogs of hell were nipping at my heels, or sometimes I just stumble and fall forward-ish. But I trust anyway, because I know, even if I can't feel it in that moment, that I will be okay. I will be caught and carried and held, safe. I will not always get the Good Stuff. The bad stuff of trust will still happen.
As Stephen Sondheim said, "Well, now you know. People love you and tell you lies. Now you know."
But I do it anyway - trust. I suck it up, screw my courage to the sticking post and get out of the way. And life goes on. And good stuff happens. And bad stuff. And I stumble around, almost blind, and just when I'm absolutely certain that I will fall - fail - there is a hand to hold me up and help me along my way.
(c) Stacey Zisook Robinson