For me, it’s a concerted campaign everyday to stay on top of and connected to everything that I need to do and is important to me. That includes my faith. I’d love to say that it is effortless, but like everything else in this life that is worth having and doing, it’s an exercise that requires attention and focus.
I maintain a regular routine that helps me stay connected. I read and pray at the same times each day. I think Benjamin Franklin said “do something everyday for thirty days, and you will have created a new habit”. Creating muscle memory in our walk of faith is no different.
There are believers who will tell you their story of coming to faith. Some of those stories are so intense and beautiful. But, I believe that once ignited, if we don’t feed that flame of faith, we risk letting it go out.
Faith is a force that once connected to, can and will transform, if we nurture and engage it with regularity and resolve.
This new year, my sister and her husband have started a new routine of working out with a personal trainer. When I listened to their schedule, I got to thinking that checking in with God is a lot like a good physical fitness campaign.
I long ago got past expecting epiphanies; but, I find little ones when I least expect it. Little “well thank you Lord” moments that make me feel connected to Him and remembered by Him. Things that make me smile and feel warm inside the same way I would when sharing a moment with a good friend. No pressure or nervousness, just moments of feeling connected to something much more perfect than anything in this world. I had one of those early this morning.
I was awakened by the sound of a dog fight. I looked out to see a pup getting taught a lesson by one of our old girls. Undoubtedly well deserved, but I didn’t want him hurt, so I threw on my slippers and walked outside. Just seeing me broke up the little scuffle, but what happened next was one of those singular moments in time that you absolutely know you will never forget.
The sun was just starting to come up and there was frost all over everything. The frost on the ground didn’t seem stuck there and as I took a few steps toward my friendly pack of canines, each of us kicked up some of those ice particles like dust. A moment later those particles of frost were airborne and the rays of light from the rising sun hit them and illuminated them. Incredible is the only thing I can say about that moment. A Hollywood special effects team couldn’t have created a more magical moving picture. I put my hand out in front of me to see if I could touch them, but they were too small to feel. Instead, it was a moment of just a few seconds when I felt in the center of something magical and eternal. Sparkling light all around me. I kind of spun around once just to see it all, raised my face up to the sky and just took it in, eyes wide open, arms outstretched. The sun kept coming and a moment later it was gone. Still a stunningly beautiful morning, but once again, earthly.
My only response was to say out loud, THANK YOU. I was all alone except the dogs, no birds had started talking and it was quiet. Even the ground was quiet the way it is when even snow or frost seems dry.
I know there was no physical reply, no scientific evidence to support my hearing a response; but I did. I felt it from the tip of my nose, the ends of my fingers and eye lashes and also to the depths of my soul, YOU ARE WELCOME.
Kris Stewart is a rancher in Paradise Valley, Nevada.