We're talking about faith - about how we define it, how we understand it, how we live by it. What does it even mean? And I said that I'm learning some things about faith through vestibular therapy. So...what's up with that?
Vestibular therapy is like physical therapy, except it's designed to strengthen your balance system. Vestibular issues cause vertigo, dizziness, lightheadedness, an inability to focus on things, motion sickness, and trouble with proprioception (knowing where your body is and how much force you are exerting with it, for example). So the goal of vestibular therapy is to re-train the brain to process visual and physical cues to maintain an orientation in space.
In practical terms, though, it's really much simpler: it's trying your best not to throw up while the therapist turns and twists you all around and lets your head dangle off things.
But that's not what I'm learning.
What I'm learning is that a lot of it is teaching myself to keep my eyes open when I'm panicked and disoriented and don't think I can stand to keep them open any longer...and at the same time, teaching myself to keep my eyes closed and trust that my body can figure itself out and understand its space.
And that, I think, is faith.
Faith is learning to keep our eyes open when we're scared. When we don't know what's going on. When we can't see what happens next or how it's going to all work out. When it would be easier to close them and try to center ourselves in something else. When we want to take a deep breath and back away...or jolt ourselves up and try to run. Faith is just...keeping our eyes open and looking at the disorienting things straight on until somehow, they straighten up.
And at the same time, faith is also learning to close our eyes and trust. Trust in that still, small voice. Trust in the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Trust in what we cannot see, but can only feel somewhere deep inside of us. Trust that if we fall, there's something - or Someone - there to catch us.
It's courage..and it's trust. That's faith, right?
There's something in me that relates deeply to this. That understands and feels that instinctual pull that wants to open my eyes or close them, that understands what it means to act against that. That understands that when it's easier to close my eyes, there may be something I don't want to miss seeing. That understands that when it's easier to keep my eyes open, it's because I'm trusting too much in what I think I can see.
God always talks about how He's given us eyes to see. I just never really thought about it before. Not like this, anyway.
Not until I had to let go of the hand rail, close my eyes, and try not to fall.
Then, all of a sudden, I get it.