I am so grateful to have faith in God and feel the presence of the Spirit in my world. Grateful for the expansive sense of joy and uplifting power when my heart is singing with happiness and laughter, grateful for the embrace of comfort and strength when my heart feels laden with burdens too heavy to bear alone. I am grateful to have found a church family with whom I can celebrate this faith openly, grateful to have found a place in our choir so I can worship through song. (Although, truth be told, sometimes choir practice is an exercise in frustration and negativity as a few people, I think, lose sense of the reason we are singing in their quest for perfection. But I just keep reminding myself of the joy I feel when singing on Sunday mornings to a very appreciative congregation. They are not nearly as critical as we can be ourselves, and seem to love our performances, imperfections and all!)
But, back to the faith issue...I could write volumes, but will simply say that trusting in God, and opening my heart through prayer, has helped me through some painful experiences the past year or two, and has also led me to a deeper appreciation of my world and all its wonders. I take time more often to marvel at the glories of creation, to feel a sense of connectedness with everything around me, to embrace and celebrate diversity. I find it easier to deal with pain and sorrow...well maybe it's not exactly easier, but I do find that emotional healing comes faster when I allow myself to be strengthened by God's love.
I realize not everyone feels the same way, and that's fine. I recall fellow blogger Jill once saying that her father taught her that it was ok not to believe in God. Which I thought was interesting, since I had to find my way to a place where it is ok to believe in God. But regardless of anyone else's faith or beliefs (or lack thereof), I am incredibly grateful for my own!
I am also grateful for gifted poets like Tagore, who can capture such incredible wisdom in so few words...
The Grasp Of Your Hand
Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but
for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling
Your mercy in my success alone; but let me find
the grasp of Your hand in my failure.
~ Rabindranath Tagore from The Heart of God
For some unknown reason, I always feel the presence of God very strongly when gazing at a sunset...all those radiant colours in the sky reminding me of the vast complexity and beauty of the universe. Here is the sunset I was blessed with a couple nights ago:
And, as always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog. Diana is the founder of the Gratitude Friday Club, and has a list of the club members on her blog...check them out too, your heart will be lifted by the wonderful expressions of gratitude.