That was before a couple of people who seem devoted to disturbing my peace pulled their usual loud conversation to make sure that any peace I was feeling at the moment was incredibly short-lived.
That was also before I found out the full weight of what was going on with both my children.
All before I was due to take a much needed week off. A week that was supposed to be comprised mostly of rest, with a few errands, a little binge-watching, and a great deal of cooking thrown in.
While all of that did actually happen, I also managed to get in a desperately needed week of prayer and introspection. Honestly, I absolutely needed the time off. I was beyond exhausted: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After moving from one high-stress environment to another (different type of stress, but still), and everything going on outside of work, I was hurtling rapidly towards complete burnout.Ten days off might not seem like a lot, but I took what I could get, and endeavored to get as much rest, and perspective, as I could in the allotted time. I think it was productive.
One of the first things set on my spirit was the phrase "For all of his knowledge, He has not wisdom". After racking my brain, and searching the internet, I found out that it was a bastardized version of a Lord of the Rings quote. Looked at in the context of my prayer life, however, I understood it to mean that while we tend to prize intelligence, we also need to take a closer look at whether or not wisdom is gained to go along with that intelligence. As it pertains to a certain situation that I am dealing with, I have come to the realization that intelligence and wisdom need to go hand in hand; wisdom is intelligence refined by experience. Intelligence without the wisdom to use it correctly can make for some incredibly cold, unfeeling people, who in turn can create difficult and uncomfortable situations for anyone that has to deal with them.
Somewhere in the middle of that train of thought, I suddenly found myself thinking about the novel, The Catcher in the Rye. What struck me most was the protagonist, Holden's, vision of someone hiding in a field of rye, waiting to catch people before they unknowingly went over a cliff.
After spending a good two hours wondering how all of those notions were connected, it finally occurred to me that faith was both at the intersection of knowledge and wisdom, and if you look closely, surrounding both concepts. If that sounds confusing, think of it like this: Faith can be the lens through which we view the experiences that move us from mere knowledge to wisdom. When both knowledge and wisdom fail us, as they sometimes do, and emotion takes over, Faith (in the form of prayer and meditation) can also be that catcher in the rye, waiting to catch us before we throw ourselves off cliffs of irrational thoughts and actions. Where knowledge and wisdom propel you forward, faith steadies your journey, and sometimes, lights your way.
It was in this notion, that where my knowledge of how to deal with people and situations, and what I had hoped was hard earned wisdom for dealing with difficulty began to fail me, and my emotions were ready to take over and send me running toward a cliff taking me I don't know where, my faith was there to catch me, and remind to stop to consider the results of hauling myself over emotional cliffs.
My situations are not likely to change anytime soon. But I do feel a little more at peace in dealing with them, knowing that in the midst of it all, I can stop and center myself using all of the tools that I have developed over the years to keep myself on track.
Or at least keep myself from going over the cliff.
Paraphrasing another quote, Of these three remain: Knowledge, Wisdom, and Faith. The greatest of these is faith.