Faith is the easiest way. I have another birth date anniversary coming up. My collective experience of these years (and there are more of them than I feel, fortunately), is that faith is the easiest way to be.
Ultimately, there is only what is. What was is gone and unchangeable – except in my perception of it, which can only be ‘good’, ‘bad’, or ‘unimportant’. But to dwell on what was is mostly useless and unproductive. I can try to learn from the past – to remember to use a memory in some future cause/effect process of choosing. Some things are easier not to forget than others.
What will be is a trap, a day dream that I far too easily get lost in. So many possibilities – nothing but, actually. Anything could happen, and my ‘what if’ mind flits and flirts moth-like in and out of the porch light of hope and the surrounding darkness of dread. No, there is only what is. This moment. What’s happening right now. The way the world, and my experience of it, are right now. It’s pure real.
The only thing that matters is how I face up to what is. I read an excellent account of dealing with real in a recent Guideposts issue. A soldier lost both legs and his left hand. What is. How shall he go from here? His mom spoke into his is, very frankly, “You know you have basically two options here, right?” (Bryan Anderson)
Likewise, I have only two ways of being, each minute. I can long for what was, what could have been, should have been, for what I wanted but didn’t get. I can get stuck in that aforementioned dream of what might be, OR with that vision as a simple guiding star, I can take an action, a step, that moves me toward it. And faith is the fuel that powers the motion.
Faith is the wind. The analogy of a ship on the ocean best paints the picture of life. I have a destination. I see the misty horizon, before and behind. I plot my course, according to the orders and guidance of Him who sent me, and I wait for the wind to fill my sails. I won’t travel a straight line. I don’t know from what direction the wind will blow. I can only adjust the canvas.
The wind is faith. Faith is the determined realization that whoever/whatever is in control in this seemingly out-of-control, uncontrollable experience is looking out for me in the long run. If I can truly believe that – and it’s not always easy – then I can handle and harness the wind, no matter how strong it blows or how becalmed it leaves my vessel.
I say ‘handle and harness the wind’, but what I mean is that I just take it for what it is. It’s my source of energy. I don’t want to waste a second bemoaning where it comes from, or how much ‘easier’ it would make the journey if it were blowing in from somewhere else.
Faith is the easiest way to plan. As soon as a moment goes by, it’s what was. As a moment is happening, it is. The trick of planning is not to fixate on a particular, upcoming what is, which is a pipe dream because I have no power/control over it, but rather to commit to being and becoming prepared for whatever it turns out to be, and to take complete acceptance of it when it arrives. This preparation is the action that I take in this ‘is’ moment. ‘Is’ is ‘now’. Which way do I tack the ship to stay on target?
Faith, in a phrase, is letting go and letting God.