I wrote this short reflection about the Kwanzaa principle, Imani or Faith. This is my personal experience with Faith.
Back in the day, I saw faith as the evidence of God’s goodness when good things happened.
Let me give you a couple examples:
When my children were born healthy, I just knew this was evidence of my faith and God’s goodness. I’d prayed. I’d asked God for them to be healthy. They were. Check.
When I was able to buy a house on my own, I could point to another way my faith had created miracles in my life. I’d prayed (pleaded, really). I wanted to give my children roots, a place to grow up, and when it happened, I gave credit to my faith. Bought the house. Check.
For years, this was my relationship with Faith.
Now, here’s where I have a bit of a confession. I’ve taken just about every class Heart and Soul offers and unbeknownst to me this put me on the Practitioner Studies path.
Through all these classes and Prac Studies, my relationships to Faith and God have shifted.
I’ve realized that faith isn’t a bargaining chip. It isn’t me deciding that I have faith today, and if I get what I asked and pleaded for, I’ll have faith tomorrow.
I’ve realized that God is TRULY at the center of all things. That it doesn’t support me to put a value judgment of good or bad on God.
Let me give you another example. About 6 months into practitioner studies, I shared a story of my Grandmother’s faith – my Grandma Dorothy. She was my father’s mother.
Grandma Dorothy’s life was an adventure in faith. She had her fourth child when she was 50. She was the wife of a minister, which, I suppose, would have made her a first lady, but I digress.
Her youngest son passed away in a car accident when he was only 21. Then, her husband passed away about a year later. Some say when my uncle passed away, my grandfather’s heart was broken. I can’t know that for sure. What I do know is…
My Grandmother’s faith never wavered.
In the years after my uncle and grandfather passed away she continued to pray without ceasing. She continued to give all the glory to God. She continued to meet every perceived set-back and challenge with prayer and an inner knowing that God remained with her, even as she stood in the valley.
She embodied grace and generosity in ways that I’d rarely seen in the world around me.
When I shared this story in Prac Studies I had no idea my father would pass away a few months later.
When my father transitioned in February 2022, in the midst of my grief, I remembered my Grandmother’s unwavering faith, even as she bid farewell to her son and her husband.
And I knew it was my turn to live a life of faith that wasn’t contingent upon getting everything I told God I wanted. That God’s love isn’t a place for me to bargain.
Instead, I knew it was my turn to trust God’s plan for my life and my father’s life, knowing with complete faith that there is some Universal plan at work, that is loving and life giving and kind.
I stand here today, on this final day of Kwanzaa, celebrating Imani as an embodied life principle, knowing that every moment and every experience in my life is God at work. And, knowing that the faith that walks with me on this journey is about trusting God, trusting Life, and trusting myself.
May your life be filled with faith, today and always.