Category Archives: Faith

The Rock

Who’s your rock?  My friend used to call me her rock.  I didn’t understand what she meant, but it sounded like a compliment so I received it happily.  She was going through a storm and I seemed to resemble a beacon of hope.  She put a lot of faith in me which made me nervous. I felt a little unworthy. But who was I to dispute her opinion, especially when she was in duress.

Years later she’s come through the storm and has the battle wounds to show for it.  She made it through the worst on her own, as far as I knew. When I called upon her recently to reiterate some of the “good advice” that I offered her, she only said, “be still”.  She told me that was the best advice that I’d given her.  In fact, she admitted that it took years to realize how important being still was to obtaining serenity.  I was confused because the same advice I had given was the precise advice that I needed.


I’d forgotten the power of release.  Sacrifice comes in many forms.  Personal sacrifice requires an understanding as well as a commitment.  The most important component of personal sacrifice is that it can’t be dictated by someone else.  We find comfort in sharing someone else’s experience, but we can never truly make their experience our own. Even in a book, we can only be provided an out-of-body experience.  However, living the tale is a story unique in its own right.

When we are lost, we look to a map. The map may come in the form of a fold-out paper with a key and squiggly lines, or it can be a valuable testament of biblical proportions.  My pastor used to tell us to remember to bring our map to church every Sunday.  But we worshiped while learning how to interpret the map.  I put my faith in the map.  I put my faith in the Bible, and I put my faith in  the the preacher.  It sounds like a good plan.  Putting my faith in good should yield positive results, right?

Where we put our trust we put our faith.  When we put our faith in the wrong person, the disappointment shutters our belief system.  No more so than when everything hinges on a single belief that there is a master plan that doesn’t work.

The rock.   This is where we want to put our hopes, our trust, and our faith.  More emotional than any of these is love.

Lovers Rock
When my father died, this song was what I played each time I entered his solemn abode. It was a new release at a time before Pandora, mp3s, or satellite radio.  Putting the cd on repeat was the worst thing I could have done. It made me hate a song that I’d have otherwise loved.  It was symbolic.   At a time that my family lost its rock, I was the replacement pebble.

For my formidable years, my father was my rock.  I was certain that I’d be the rock for my kids soon enough. But the circumstances by which my father’s life was lost left me wondering if I’d placed my faith in the wrong person. For me there was faith in the father, and there was faith in the Father.  I thought that the two weren’t mutually exclusive.   My father was instrumental in my walk with the Lord. When he was gone, my walk truly became my own.

After fifteen years of progress without my dad, I’ve lost more faith in man and garnered more faith in myself.  As a man, faith in self is an arguably less popular trend.  As a Christian, faith in God’s will is enough to restore any lost faith in myself; but it does nothing to restore my faith in man.  I am.
 I’ve learned to distrust.  Having faith in relationships, organizations, colleagues, and family has left me empty and disappointed.  We know the importance in having faith. We simply struggle with knowing how to cope when things go wrong.  There will certainly be disappointment.  But the vagueness on how our map was constructed or how to combat the struggles en route to our destination–that’s the hardship!  It’s those milestones and all the tribulations along the way that really test our faith.  You see, that rock seems worthless if we don’t step off of it.  I mean, how do we lead a life without movement?  We step off the rock, assess the situation, and proceed with caution.  The whole while we are keeping the rock in sight (in case we need to run back to it).  And what do we do when we falter?  We seek the rock. Mankind can not merely savor the comfort and sanctity of salvation.  #Savorthefavor

 Who’s your rock?  Have you invested so much faith in man (and the world) that you’ve lost sight of the Rock?   Will you turn to your rock when all else fails?  Or will you not only stand on the rock but encourage others to do the same?

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Nuna

Ten years ago, I found myself in a new career, uncomfortable scenarios, and little hope.  With no idea what situations brought me to this place, and with very little hope for escape, I was lost.  One night at the Bridgeton Police Station I met an angel case managing a family in crisis.

Her unfamiliar confidence and passion to stabilize an unpleasant event was intriguing.  All I could offer was an old rap song to distract the children from the police interrogation.  That night she privately affirmed me and explained that she wouldn’t be there long because her marriage couldn’t endure it.  Although it made sense, I had come to work for the agency in hopes to restore my own marriage.

She told me that she was going to become a teacher.  It was an approach that I hadn’t considered for myself since my freshmen year in college.  Nonetheless, it sparked my interest.  She said that she wanted to work with children.  Sounded good to me. That’s what I wanted too.  I just hadn’t figured out how.

Before I knew it, she had resigned.  She’d been hired at a local elementary school teaching English-As-A-Second Language, Language Arts, Math, and Science.  This inspired me to spend the first two hours of every day looking a career in education.  I too needed an escape to a more fulfilling career–one that embraces hope, is heralded as a noble profession, and helps without hurt.

The years that followed found me in a classroom of my own.  Our paths would not have crossed again had it not been for social media.  On the rare occasion that her actual photo graced her profile was the day I connected with her online.  Nuna was her online handle.

MySpace, Yahoo IM, and eventually Facebook became the mediums through which we shared ideas and accomplishments.  She saved her relationship and introduced me to someone after my marriage collapsed.  Like good friends do, we partied, celebrated life, and enjoyed the company of our mutual friends.  Relationships dissolved and our professional lives took on new forms.  We supported each other’s endeavors from a far;  only commenting when asked for an opinion.

Although not an integral part of my career or my personal life, I’ve shared with her my most emotional experiences.  From her own perspective, she’s offered advice.  Younger but wiser, her advice was always valued.  Her own expertise has been recently recognized by higher authorities which has positioned her assent to a new level of achievement.  I’m so proud of her.  She continues to inspire me.

True friendships cannot always be defined by cliches.  In this case, no cliche can adequately define the value of my bond to Nuna.  Exciting times…