Faith and Journey

How many of you love the band “Journey”? If you are a child of the ’70s, 80’s and 90’s, chances are you know who I’m talking about with classic bands. I love Classic Rock. I also love Country Music, some Top40, some Rap, some Classical, some Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, etc. The list can go on and on. Some songs stay with me no matter how old I get or how much the genre of music changes. The one thing that remains constant is that music transcends time. Even songs popular in the 60;s have managed to reach generations that no one would have thought possible. I guess that’s what makes music so unique. It can be faithful. It resonates with us through heartache and celebrations. I listen to Journey every chance I get. In part because their songs remind me of a simpler time with a love that lasts “faithfully.” When I hear the first part of the song, “Highway run into the midnight sun,” the first thought that pops into my head is the road we travel while God is right beside us.

When I get on a long stretch of a highway, I will jam to music. It doesn’t matter where I am; I can feel the rhythm slowly overtake my joints and bones to where I am one with the music and the car. I know I’m not alone. It’s a liberating feeling that allows me to feel young even when my body feels like it’s trying to age on me and not gracefully. There is a part of me that will always be faithful to the music. It’s been my one refuge when I felt alone. Even when I knew that I was never truly alone, the music was there as a calming angel. It gave me the strength to pull myself out of the darkness into the light. Part of the lyrics in the Faithfully song is “the wheels go round and round in my mind.” I think this falls into being confused.

When we pray, many of us are at a crossroads. We don’t know what direction to go. Our minds are confused with clutter and garbage. Prayer helps us sort out the junk and ask God to take the reins for many of us. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love giving something to God, going to bed, and waking up with a realization of a viewpoint I hadn’t thought about previously. I love being able to respond to what I hear with that little voice inside me telling me to stop doing things my way and let God’s way occur. There is genuinely no more incredible feeling than to know that God is faithful with his children. He won’t steer them wrong. What’s wrong is when we aren’t willing to listen to what he’s telling us, and we insist on doing it our way. I bet all of us would lose if we went up against God. That’s one battle I don’t want to encounter.

This last year has tested my faith immensely. People that I love are no longer a part of my life; COVID has taken many that I care about and created mayhem in its wake. Society is fighting with each other and criticizing those with who they disagree with and divisions are rampant. People are walking on eggshells in conversations. Political parties condemn each other because so many in the system have forgotten the reasons they were voted in while the constituents are left paying the price for bad decisions. Sometimes I wonder if things will ever get better or if we are all paying the price for our lack of faith, greed, and selfishness.

You don’t have to share my belief. I think it’s good that we all have something or someone to believe in throughout our lives. For me, faith is something that I struggle with daily. Sometimes I’m afraid to talk about my faith for fear of offending others. Many people believe so strongly that they live the word of the Bible every day. They condemn others who do not think so as they do. They see faith as something that has to be what they believe. If that were true, very few would see or hear what God tells us. Let’s say you don’t think it, that’s fine. But I bet you believe in what you can see and explain. Some folks believe in science, while others believe in different deities. I don’t know what’s right. I only know what is right for me.

Having faith takes guts. Christianity is among many different forms of religion that are under attack. I’ll grant you many are CINO. (Christians in Name Only.) Some folks believe in the Jewish faith. Their faith is strong and is something I admire greatly. They are survivors because of all the attacks on their people and religion. While I’m not Jewish, I have tremendous respect for their faith and practices.

In Thailand, I saw two crosses the entire time I was there. Buddhism is prominent there. The temples are something to behold. Some of the Buddhist temples were designed with gold and were majestic to see. Rarely have I ever experienced something that made me respect other faiths more. One of the stories that I learned was that of a monk who perished, and he came to other monks in a dream foretelling of their souls going to hell. The story got my attention. Not long after the monks had the dream, someone brutally murdered all twelve. According to the legend, when the monks appear in the dream, death is around the corner. I have no clue as to the validity of this story. Our tour guide was the one to tell it, but it left an impression on me. Then the guide spoke of a story of a grandfather who came back as a dog to his family. This story made me think of how we believe so quickly but struggle so hard with faith. Maybe it’s because we’re all geared differently. We process information in different ways, and we accept specific stories easier than others. Whatever the logic may be, having faith is often guided by interest and how that interest touches our hearts and lives.

Yesterday tested my faith vigorously. We were so busy at the office that I had a woman that caused me to pause. She tried to blame others for her responsibility and got angry because she was fined for her behavior. She didn’t want to follow the rules and became indignant that she should have to follow them. She cost the company more money than she was paying out of pocket and didn’t care about the problems she incited. She borrowed the company truck. She didn’t provide the correct information, and my assistant let the vehicle go out in good faith. The woman was late getting the truck back; she was instructed to put gas in the truck and bring back a gas receipt. She brought the truck back and put the key in the dropbox, and refused to fill the tank. It took every ounce of energy for me not to go off in my southern style. Instead, I professionally told her that had she returned the truck with gas-filled and a receipt; she wouldn’t be charged. Instead, she lied. She brought the truck back at the end of the day, and my assistant didn’t get a chance to check the truck out. While it’s easy to point the fingers at my assistant, it had been one hectic day, and she was distressed by the end of the day. She was ready to go home and relax. I had to bite my lip more than I care to admit in my dealings with this woman who intentionally lied to her.

People are going to test faith at every turn. What’s important is what we choose to allow in our lives. If we enable opposing forces, we’re doomed to stay on that cycle until we decide we’ve had enough. I can remember a time I didn’t stand up for myself. I didn’t have faith in myself to believe I was worthy of a better life. God knows I make mistakes all the time. I’ve had to learn to forgive myself and remember that as long as I own those mistakes and keep a relationship open to God, I have everything I need. Life isn’t easy, and neither is faith. But if you allow yourself to be open to different cultures, learn about various faiths, and experience new things, it’s incredible how your viewpoints change in your Journey. Have a great day, everyone.

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