Yesterday I gave a presentation on healthy relationships, dating and social skills to a group of adults with Aspergers. We were discussing things like jealousy, conflict in relationships, the importance of romance. A few of the people in the group were saying that it was hard to answer some of the questions regarding their opinion on certain aspects of dating and romance, having never been in such a relationship. One young man, in his twenties said this:
"It is very difficult, from the lofty perch of intellect, to really get down to the earthy roots of the situation."
If only I could have made that distinction in my twenties.
It made me think about how difficult it really can be, not just for people on the autism spectrum or people with disabilities, but for anyone to really bring together what they understand in their minds and what they feel in their hearts.
In some ways, spirituality of any kind is like that. People who believe in a God can't necessarily see or be able to logically explain why they hold that belief, why they pray or are drawn to their church every week...but they feel it. People who believe in energy and Karma, in enlightenment... That's not stuff you can grab and look at under a microscope. But they feel it.
People who believe in love can't necessarily quantify the power of the feelings they have for a certain person. "True love" "Soul Mate" and "Fate" are often words used earnestly by believers and scoffed at by others as cliches. But people who mean those words when they say them...they feel it.
Some children believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. In my house we have Winter Wendall and the Sticker Fairy too. My children have never seen any of those characters; can't prove their existence. But they feel it.
People who have had trauma in their lives--the trauma of mental illness or alcoholism or violence in their families or childhoods--often grow up and are able to intellectualize what happened to them. They can logically explain and understand how they were affected, why they are the way they are...but emotionally dealing with that trauma is much, much more difficult to grasp and work through.
The earthy roots of the situation...much harder to explain, to understand, to believe in... Especially from the lofty perch of intellect. But what a wonderful thing when you can get there, bring those two things together.
That, I believe, is what faith really is.