I HAVE FLOWN IN DARKNESS, lightning, fog, rain, wind, clouds and brilliant sunshine. Sometimes all in the same day. I have always made it to my destination, even if it wasn’t the site I had originally planned to land, even though it wasn’t the initially scheduled hour of arrival. With air travel, like life’s path, there are no guarantees about where one will end up or which route it takes to get there. Once in a while, I go somewhere unexpected and unavoidable. I’m not judgin’, I’m just sayin’.
Point is, I keep flying, I don’t know how the engine works but I get on the plane. I will also happily remember that every so often I truly enjoy the detours along the way of a fixed itinerary. Garth Brooks referred to them as “Unanswered Prayers;” those deviations from my fondest wish to get to the result I sooooo want to achieve. Boom! Not at all what I saw coming and nothing I had wanted, until it was exactly what I had. Beautiful, accidental and necessary. Faith is a funny thing. It’s like a “bless you” after sneezing, a “careful” after you’ve stumbled. It shows up after it is technically useful, but the thought is carried forward to the next similar experience… if I remember to carry faith forward.
Therein lies the rub, as they say. How do I savor the seed of faith in those times of smooth sailing? One of my many defects is the struggle to navigate serenity without subtle sabotage or outright defiance. I love a challenge! Where’s the brilliance in calm, loving, graceful daily existence? I can only shine when I am battling a crisis. I am like a firefighter, never appreciated until there is an emergency. There is a pugilistic poetry to the ever circular battle of trauma and treatment and trouble and temperance. It goes round and round until I become so dizzy I fall backward into that soft, wonderful, familiar cushion of self-doubt, misplaced anger, cynicism and negative behavior. I like to lose: time, momentum, trust, relationships and above all faith. I am gifted when it comes to losing faith. A natural born loser; unfaithful.
Safely in solution here, I know that faith is something that needs to be shared. My son, my wife, my work, my life. All of these are deserving of my Footwork – Attention – Inspiration – Trust – Humility… FAITH. Above all, faith requires footwork. Faith is a noun, but functions like a verb. “I faith forward.” First thought wrong: “I faith forward” sounds like a guy with a lisp who is looking ahead. If you have a lisp I promptly make amends here and now. (10th step if you are new). Sorry. But I have faith that you will continue reading this column.
Anyway, the display of faith, even the smallest example, is devalued unless it is accompanied by kindness. The key is kindness. A genuine capacity to care exists in all of us. It is present in the hardest of hearts, the darkest of pasts and the emptiest of every hollow opportunity. I do care about you, yours, mine and ours. I have to care! Otherwise, I revert back to my simplest of centers: loss of faith. It is the surest return to relapse for any recovering individual. Lose faith, tempt fate. I rarely go a day without questioning my own faith. The saving grace is that those times are shorter in length, weaker in strength and rarer in number. Progress, not perfection? Perhaps. But I choose to believe that the power of faith comes from consistent attention to the footwork of serving others – the distraction that is attached to performing acts of kindness for those around me is a blind blessing. I never have to see the results of my efforts. I need to find faith in the task at hand. I am allowed to wallow in willingness and warmth as I “faith forward”. It is the journey that justifies the destination. In the purest sense of adventure, I plan to be amazed, surprised, challenged and diverted from my original outcome. Along the way, I will develop, display and distribute faith. With kindness Hey Look at that!! The plane is about to land. Right on time.
Mark Lundholm has had his own Showtime Special, appeared on Comedy Central, and written and started in his own one-man theater show, Addicted…a comedy of substance. Look for him at: www.MarkLundholm.com www.funnyrecovery.com