A church near our house has a message which reads "Extreme times demand deep faith." For weeks I have driven by that board and bristled at the thought, not quite understanding why. Yesterday I was a passenger and had the opportunity to dwell for a moment. I have a problem with the word "demand". Extreme times invite deep faith would be better. Extreme times can shatter deep faith. I am living proof of this. I was a very faithful person nine years ago, I prayed, attended mass and talked to God often. When I learned that my baby would most likely not survive in my womb and, if he did, would then die soon after birth the first thing I did is pray. I had so much faith in His healing powers. I did not believe that He would allow me, my family and our baby to endure so much needless suffering. I carried Wyatt in that promise. The promise of new life given to me by a higher power. When that life was taken away I thanked Him for the brief time I was given, thankful to have hours instead of minutes or seconds. Soon after that gratitude turned to resentment, anger and jealousy. I constantly analyzed the situation to determine what I had done wrong, why this could have been allowed to happen to me. How, if God had a plan, my child's death could be part of it? In searching for that answer I lost my faith. I saw it slipping and just let it go. During those years not one extraordinarily bad thing happened to me as a result. No one died, no one got so sick they could not be healed and my life did not disintegrate into a vacuum of sins. I continued to live life according to my morals, I just did so without attending mass, praying or talking to God. I am sure there are those who would be quick to judge that decision as me not being truly faithful. Faith is easy when things are easy. But that would not be an accurate statement. Relationships are complicated. We are most vulnerable to those we love most. Our emotions are strongest within the closest relationships. Relationships can easily fracture. Why should my relationship with God be any different? Our relationship fractured and it was only able to be repaired through the passing of time which allowed me to redefine it. That redefined relationship carried me through Eli's pregnancy, death and to today, through the very same event which shattered my faith eight years ago.
I bristle at the word "demand" because to me it implies that anything less than faith is weakness when in reality sometimes the hardest thing to do is to walk away.