Walking with Faith – Introduction

Walking with Faith -Introduction

Walking up to the edge of the Pacific Ocean is an exercise in steeling one’s nerves. Icier by far than the Atlantic, the Pacific does not beckon bathers the way warmer Hawaiian waters do; it dares you to enter it. It taunts you with its aquamarine beauty while it threatens to shock you dead from the cold. It’s much harder even than to stand on a pier and dive into a New England lake where it is all over in an instant. No, at the California beach you have to go shallow before you can go deep. Whether you dart in like a child or tiptoe in inch by painful inch like a matron in a vast black swimming corset, it’s a process. Never comfortable. Always worth it.

I’m not afraid of my shallow side. I recognize that you have to go wade through the whitewash before you can ride the waves. Not that I surf mind you, but I do know first hand the joy of riding in on a boogie board. Not with reckless abandon, usually with some thought of the possible chiropractic implications, but with joy nonetheless. The exhilaration of those few moments always begins with my having to grab the guts to get in the water, to assume the risk, to get out there and live a little. But you do have to go shallow before you can go deep.

I first noticed Faith at the college group meeting at church. Although my college days were over decades ago, I still enjoy the eagerness of the young minds at the peak of their powers and relish conversations that involve ideas and ideals, theories and theology. If you want to call a warm welcome and a hot meal baiting the hook,go ahead, I don’t blame you. I just know it works as a way of keeping me connected with a generation that clearly is looking for mentors. We need each other, as Faith and I were about to learn.

She had great hairdo. I could feign embarrassment that our first conversation was started when I tapped her on the shoulder and told her so, but I won’t. It was just flat true and people sometimes need to be tapped on the shoulder and told by strangers that the back of their hair looks great. I’d love that- wouldn’t you? You have to go shallow before you can go deep. As a result of my overture I learned that she was a new staff member at the church, hired to work on shoring up our large churches’ ministry to the young and the hip. She was both, and not many male necks failed to swivel when Faith walked by. Even my precious husband, who has always pleased me by looking up at the airplanes flying over ahead when we are on the beach at Coronado in lieu of ogling the tiny teens in tiny thongs, was affected. I noticed, with some degree of amusement, that even he got a little goofy when Faith walked in the room. I will confess that I did think: “Whatever she has, I want some of it!”

But wait up- is beauty always the asset we think it is? Wouldn’t we all trade most of our discretionary income to look as good as she does? Or do we actually do that, spend an inordinate amount cash that is, if we honestly take the time to tally it up ? What price am I, are you, willing to pay for what God might call vanity if we were to ask Him pointblank about it ? Do we even have the nerve to ask God what he thinks about our closets bulging with fashionable clothing and uncomfortable but stylish shoes in a world where children starve and run nearly naked in the streets in places like Sao Paolo? Does an increase in external beauty in any way correlate with an increase in internal joy? Can I be both shallow and deep? I had lessons I needed to learn by walking with Faith, and I was about to enter phase one.