After 20 years and several false starts, I’m finally on track to finish my B.A. in Creative Writing in May 2011. I’m currently enrolled in a class called “Quest for Meaning,” and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. For the past several years, I’ve been on a spiritual quest to understand my role in life and my place in this vast universe. I believe in divine purpose, and I believe that human existence carries with it a larger responsibility than following a narrow individual path. But like many people, I’ve drifted through life with an overdeveloped sense of self-sufficiency. Why rely on faith when you can take control of your own destiny? And yet, despite my confidence in my own ability to create the life I wanted, for years I seemed to be fighting a losing battle. I felt like a sailboat lost in a hurricane; out of control and without a compass to find my way home.
I guess God finally lost patience waiting for me to stop drifting and chart a purposeful course because it seems to me now that he recently took matters into his own hands. My oldest son came to me last week and asked me to watch a movie with him. “Facing the Giants” – a football movie and one of his favorites. I agreed, not knowing that my life was about to be changed. The movie is about a high school football coach who has lost faith and whose life seems to be falling apart. His team has not had a winning season in six years. By changing his…and the team’s philosophy… to that of serving God instead of serving themselves, the coach rediscovers his faith and learns that with God, all things are possible. And oh yeah, the team not only has a winning season, they conquer the previously undefeated state champions…the Giants.
For my son, the football player, the movie was a powerful example of faith in action. For me, it was a long-needed wake-up call. I tried to remember all of my reasons for not having faith in God; all of my excuses for not opening my life to serving him. Fear…pride…meaningless emotions that only serve to hold one back from finding purpose and meaning in life. That night, for the first time in years, I prayed. I prayed for faith, for forgiveness of my stubborn ways, and for guidance.
I used to be one of those individuals who scoff at faith and believe they alone are in charge of their lives. Of course it is possible to live without God; to shoulder the responsibility of human existence without the blessing of divine guidance. Yet how much better it is to walk through life knowing that your life honors God; that you have accepted his purpose with grace and an open heart. Finding faith didn’t give me all the answers, and it didn’t make my problems disappear. Finding my faith gave me hope — in myself, in the future, and in the possibility that each of us can have a positive impact on the world.
In one of my Quest for Meaning textbooks, a particular quote grabbed my attention…”Change happens abruptly.” Yes, it does. Every day, a miracle is waiting to happen.