Do you ever feel like this? After the initial thrill, the rush, the excitement of choosing to believe in it all, there follow periods of silence, of barren times, of….well, nothing. You serve and you pray, you listen for signs, search for answers. You hope and you hope, you want that one miracle you cherish more than anything. Yet, you are met with a brick wall. Is God listening, does he care, is he even there?
Not only are you rooted to the spot, going nowhere, but you actually feel you are being pushed backwards, while at the same time sinking ever further into this quagmire we call life. It doesn’t matter what your belief system is, we are all human and all assailed by the same doubts and questions. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist. What if we are wrong and the others right? What if we are ALL wrong?
Where’s the evidence, where’s the proof that there is something beyond what we know, another world on the other side of this veil we call reality. We cling to that hope during the hard times, during trials, when we are tempted and broken. We need to believe there is some order to the chaos, for otherwise we are adrift and lost. If we lose our hope, our faith, then surely we have lost everything?
Sometimes we are so fixated with seeking what we cannot see, that we are blind to what is sitting beneath our noses. Our family, our friends, people who need us in the here and now. We can’t see the wood for the ethereal trees beckoning us towards the horizon. We trample over the present in our frantic rush to find the future. We are wishing our lives away, yet we exist in a world we can see, touch and hear. We are a sensory species.
We need to shake off the spiritual scales at times, smell the coffee and take in our present surroundings. There is much we can do practically without signs and wonders to guide and inspire us. When you pray for the desires of your heart and they aren’t delivered then maybe it’s time to take matters into our own hands. Maybe it’s time to trust in your own ability, your own judgement.
It’s disheartening to see bad people flourish while those who deserve a break are seemingly ignored. When prayers aren’t answered, we despair. Believers tell us God knows best or the timing isn’t right, but such glib cliched responses do little to ease the pain of those who are in the firing line. Walk a mile in our shoes, then maybe you will begin to understand and appreciate the pain of an unanswered prayer.
So what is the answer? Do we stop praying, do we turn our backs on a higher power who appears to have turned his back on us, on our family, on our our planet. I don’t know, it’s just another of those huge questions I struggle to process on a daily basis. I see my wife, I see my kids, I see ways I can help them, support them, love them. There is so much work to be done, tiring but rewarding work.
As parents, Fionnuala and I will do anything for our kids. They are all finding their way through the teenage years, developing interests and talents we want to nurture and encourage. They are creating happy, proud memories we will have forever. When the higher power we seek doesn’t seem to be there or care, we focus on them, take the bull by the horns and do all we can. For them.