My fourth book, the title of which I have known for a long time, is a work in progress. What started as an innocent adventure aimed at a younger audience has slowly morphed into a novel better suited to adults. This was never my intention. Yet this book was always on my life’s agenda.
My faith and spirituality have always been of great importance. And, while I become increasingly dubious about organised religion, having very recently experienced Catholic priests at opposite ends of the suitability scale (priests whose individual delivery and attitude, whilst professing to represent the same denomination, could respectively attract or repel a congregation with one sentence), I still firmly embrace the sentiment of guidance from a higher power. However, I have recently had my faith and my beliefs in my higher power tested. And that has left me feeling very odd.
I had always considered myself an eternal optimist with a deep-routed instinct to gallop in to any tough situation, sun-guns blazing, and dismiss the threatening clouds with instinctive accuracy. It went against every ounce of my being to watch suffering of any kind. My life was all about putting it right, and, until recently, I believed I could. Upon reflection, perhaps my optimism was more blinkered hope. Still, I feel very let down by what transpired. But let down by whom?
I am not the only person to have scrutinised their beliefs after a period of difficulty. And I am not the only faithful who has questioned their faith. Yet, as I weather this period of suspended animation, my heart experiencing a whole lot of alien stuff it doesn’t like, I am beginning to suspect two things. The first, that questioning faith is possibly what having faith is all about. And the second, (and probably the more important), that although I’m currently not quite sure what I have faith in, still I feel a great deal better with faith in my life than I do otherwise.
The last few weeks have been spent privately processing. In matters of the heart – the matters that affect me the most – I process very slowly (this model certainly doesn’t come with a Pentium inside!) And, the more I process, the more it dawns on me that perhaps, rather than my faith, it is by myself that I feel let down. Not for the optimism – more than one kind person has suggested that this probably made a huge difference elsewhere. And not for the desire to put things right – that’s the Good Samaritan in us all. But for the simple belief that, through my own actions, I had the ability to change the course of another’s destiny. (Even as I type this blog I further realise how ridiculous a notion this sounds!) All the prayers, the healing, and all the hope in the world could not promote me to my higher power’s league. After all, if I was meant to play god, I wouldn’t be down here…
There is a great book available to us all. It has helped and is still helping millions of people across the world. Although it is affectionately referred to by the fellowship as, ‘The Big Book,” its title is ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.’ I began reading the book as an act of support to a friend in recovery, but I have realised that its content is having a profound effect on my current struggle with my faith. I am not going to go into the book in any great detail here, (although I would highly recommend that everyone read it – it’s guidance is life changing), but I would like to cite, ‘The Serenity Prayer,’ used to close every AA meeting, and placed at the very heart of AA, as a tool to help anyone currently questioning themselves, their lives, or their faith.
And I will close by saying, that the other book I earlier mentioned, my fourth novel, the one that has always been on my agenda, will get finished. And when it does, I pray it will bring hope to those who read it.
And I also pray that its author will have rediscovered her faith.
And will allow her heart to believe the things her soul suspects to be true.
Big love, everyone. Xxx
‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.’