I was raised in the Catholic faith. And in the early 1960s you stuck with your faith and did not venture outside of it. You did not learn about other faiths. They were not yours, so they were not correct or right or whatever you want to call it. My parents though were not afraid to let us explore our faith. They even sent me to Bible School for a week one summer when I was about 7 because my friend Karen was going. It was interesting how much more of the Bible she knew and that many of her faith’s stories were the same or similar to my stories. My parents got a lot of grief from family and friends about it, but they had faith it was the right thing to do.
I think the characters from the movie, Miracle On 34th Street said it best, “Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.” And I am sure you have heard the phrase “taking a leap of faith”. We have all done it at some point; taken the leap. When my husband and I finally went on our honeymoon 5 years after we were married, we took that leap. It was 2002 and just about a year after 9/11. We were headed for Italy, specifically the Island of Capri. The pictures here are of Capri. And it is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places on the face of the Earth. We decided not to use a travel agent or go on a tour. We went online, found a hotel, emailed them and made reservations. Then we made flight reservations to Naples on Alitalia and that was that. Of course we had no idea how we would get to the island, but my husband assured me it would not be a problem. They have boats; we’ll find one.
You have to understand I never do this. I have to plan everything to the last detail and be sure of all the details. And right on schedule about a month before we went I started to get nervous. I purchased some tour guide books and was obsessing about the boats. I finally talked myself into being calm and relaxed and just going with whatever happened. And you know I think I never enjoyed a trip more. We were delayed in Milan for 3 hours, and once we got to Naples we found out our luggage had stayed behind in Milan. We were assured it would follow us to Capri the next day-sure it would. Now I was getting nervous. No I did not pack a carry on, I was taking a leap remember. Upon inquiring how to get to the boats for Capri using sign language, English and limited Italian (we found many places did not speak English-silly us), we hopped a city bus to the port. We missed the tour bus, but thank God we did not have luggage because a city bus has no place for it and seats about 10-the rest stand; and it travels the less travelled tourist routes….very interesting but remember we were leaping!!
We reached the port found the next boat out and climbed aboard. It was a long ride past Mount Vesuvius and the coast line but it was stunning. It was late afternoon and we had a piece of pizza on the boat—amazing flavor but of course we were in Italy-OMG we were in Italy!!! We docked and found someone who knew where our hotel was. We took the funiclare-the funicular railway up to the piazza and wound through many narrow passageways until we came to a road to our hotel. Now understand there are no cars on this part of the island. As we walked to the hotel, I started to smell the most heavenly scent, one that we would find everywhere on the island-jasmine. And there were flowers blooming everywhere-this was mid October. And yes our luggage arrived the next day and I wore my clothes for 36 hours, but I never had more fun on a trip. The leap worked and I was in heaven…..
Today I feel am accepting of all religions and enjoy learning about the many teachings from other spiritual leaders because my parents took a chance and let us explore. And recently I have reconnected with my spiritual core. Interestingly this happened through gardening. You see I think of gardening as a kind of religion and very spiritual. A religion can be defined as,
- “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects”
- “ritual observance of faith”
- “something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience”
Now if you are a gardener or know a gardener this definitely describes one. We have faith that our plants will grow given the right care and sometimes even when given little care….we believe that with enough water and sun seeds will germinate and bring forth a harvest. We believe plants will reappear from the barren ground when the earth warms again in the spring. We go through this ritual every year. We try to do no harm to the Earth and “be green”. We daily worship in our gardens the wonders all around us sometimes growing despite us. And we feel the spirit of the garden; its divine sacredness.
So how could you not have faith if you garden? And if you have lost faith, it is the perfect place to find it again. To know the truth, the certainty that the beauty of this world, the wonder is growing, breathing all around you…take that leap!
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. Martin Luther King, Jr.