Doubt is a Noble Discomfort
The absence of faith isn’t doubt, it is certainty. As a lawyer, I lived in relative worlds of certainty, because I had to. I had to prove things to jurors, and that was often reduced to a statistical probability. Even that was like shooting at the moon, but it worked to quantify some ideas so that someone would be right, and win. It was pretty intoxicating back then, but I’m really glad I don’t live in that world anymore. It’s not that the law was bad, or my lawyering for that matter, but it just wasn’t enough for me. Being right all the time was impossible, and a painful pursuit. So, I decided to work on being whole and happy. No matter what it took. Sometimes it took time and some bone crushing discomfort, like a rendering. Then, the place of doubt became very, very alive to me, and I often never left my room to experience more of everything.
My dear friend Christi introduced me to the idea of living gracefully with uncertainty because she did it so well. She is so wise, and so very cool. It was natural for me to pay attention, because I wanted her serenity, and I wanted to have a blast in the midst of it too. That felt like the cats meow to me, and like I was finally becoming an adult in some pretty mysterious ways.
How could doubt lead to freedom? My answer was always to let it have its way with me, and take mighty fine care of myself when I felt its pressure bearing down on me. Something was always birthing, and it usually hurt. But, like my Mom said,
“Honey, once the baby is born, you forget all about the pain.”
So what is being born in doubt? A deep and abiding capacity where faith can move. Faith can move mountains, and that is a good thing because some barriers to God are about that big, and dense.
Several years ago, I left my association with an Order of Christian Mystics where I was a student of their Mystery school. My association with them, and developing in their tender care is probably the most profound thing I’ve ever experienced. I was definitely called there, and I was also called to leave too. I sure didn’t expect that to happen, because I was in training for the ministry. I thought that I had finally found the place that I would not only experience God regularly, but truly serve God, like I always wanted to do. When certain doubts began to arise, I initially resisted them, and braced against leaving like I would die if I did. I thought something deep was emerging that was just another layer of resistance on my path to becoming clear. True, that was, but so much more too. I was learning to discern for myself, and that required me to make my decision. No matter what the cost, or the outcome. It was the process of becoming a spiritual adult and it scared the tar out of me. I had people around me telling me what to do, and those from the world that I had left were wondering where I had gone.
I got really, really close to God during that time. I didn’t sleep very well, and the pressure felt like heavy bricks on my shoulders. But, one day I made my big girl decision, and I left the order. I loved the members in a way that words can’t even describe, and it was really hard. In fact, I didn’t say goodbye, in part because some of them told me that I was saying no to God.
It didn’t take long to sleep well again, and laugh too. Over time, I felt a new connection clearly emerge; to myself, and God.
Doubt is a process of coming into authentic living, and I have no shortcuts through the meanderings of uncertainty. Only some absolutes. Be kind and gentle, because the rough edges that are smoothing by the light of God, cause some pain.
Be kind to others, because my decision has nothing to do with them, and most people are doing the best that they can. Lean, listen, and love with good people, but don’t expect an answer from them. It always comes from God, and I never know where it will show up. Only that it does. Thank you God, it always does.
“Water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow.”~ Plutarch