Sunday, December 12, 2010

Faith Vs. Doubt

I am not terribly religious. I was watching footage of Elizabeth Edwards, who died this week, and some things she said really struck home for me. One of those was the expression that God is not what she thought He was. That He is a God of salvation and redemption, but that after her son died, she could no longer pray. That He was no longer a God who saved people from their natural fates. Oh yes. I could relate to that. My moments of pure prayer since Joseph died have been few and far betwee. However, since he died and particularly since I started to find myself, I do find moments of communion with God, in which I am not really praying or conversing, but more sitting within the spirit of what I know or have felt God to be.

Every now and then I get a sign or a sense that there is a higher purpose in my life. Something has happened of late that I wish to discuss here, and I will let you decide for yourself if it is the hand of God or merely coincidence. I suspect far more.

One of the requirements for third semester nursing is that we do something called "service learning". In essence, we are required to put in a certain number of hours volunteering nursing services within certain approved organizations. As I looked at the possibilities, saw much of this involved doing things for kids - Friday Night Friends (babysitting), the pediatric clinic, diabetic camp - things like that. Well, as much as I love kids, I think I would rather stick a fork in my eye. Pediatric nursing, thus far, is definitely not for me, and the idea of doing my service hours for something that does not contribute to my career in any way or at least my sense of satisfaction was depressing. I went to the faculty in charge of this and asked if there wasn't something else. She gave me the name of a woman in charge of a cancer program that seeks to enrich and support the lives of cancer patients, family members and caregivers...far more than just a support group. Needless to say, my pulse picked up with excitement and I called this woman that very day.

When we finally connected, she told me she was not sure what she neededd would match up with what I neededd to do to meet my school requirement. Now, mind you, this individual has NO idea where I come from other than the college, no personal knowledge of Joseph or Alex or my blog or anything.

Then she told me. What they are looking for is someone to do a seminar for the group on the benefits of journaling through the cancer experience.

Now, I will tell you....since JOseph died, my moments of faith have been few, far between and very very frail. And yet, there have been a few moments of "no doubt about it" signs that Joseph still knows and loves his family and that he is still with us in another sense. This definitely falls under that category.

So it seems I will be doing a seminar on the benefits of journaling/creative writing through the cancer experience and then subsequently leading classes on how to get started, how to utilize this tool to make the whole ordeal a little easier to bear.

My hair stands on end. I am not a woman of strong faith. But now and then, God lets me know I am being steered in a definite direction. And I have no doubt at all this is one of those things.

I love you Joseph. I miss you most at Christmas time. Help me be strong. Help me know what people need and help me learn to use my experiences not to focus on myself, but to help others get through where their lives are right now.


karen gerstenberger said...

Sheri, this is just wonderful news. You will be a huge blessing to the group you teach. I look forward to hearing more about it!

Denny Family said...

Thank you for sharing Sheri. I am religious and I do believe there is purpose to life. The beginning of life and a great purpose to the end of this life and everything in between is for us to become more perfect like our God. You of all people have an experience, of loosing a son, that gives you such a greater insight into the amazing love our God has for us that he gave his Son for the love of all. If for a moment you could see the impact at the end of this life that you made on others because of your trials, believing that Joseph is with you forever after this, you would be in awe. Merry Christmas Sheri!!

Karen said...

I identify with your doubt issues. The death of a child can be a faith-shattering experience. How wonderful that God would reach out to you in this way.I hope this is a reach and satisfying experience for you, and I am sure Joseph is proud of what you are doing.