"if you have faith, even if it's only as tiny as a mustard seed, you can move a mountain." Our Bible school teacher passed around a necklace with a mustard seek embedded in plastic, while she explained the power of faith. Or tried. We didn't challenge her. Those weren't the days when a child would yell out "Are you crazy. You mean you think you can just sit there and believe and the whole mountain will move?"
We lived in a town surrounded by mountains and I had never heard anyone express concern about their placement. The story made an impression, but it didn't make a lot of sense from my eight year old perspective.
I was still thinking about it when I got home and did what I always did when something didn't make sense. I asked my father. He was brilliant. He taught calculus at an engineering school, read Chaucer and Shakespeare for personal enjoyment, and did crossword puzzles in ink. He started college at 15, had 3 majors and 2 minors, and completed one of his master's degrees in French. He was one of the few adults who never talked down to me because I was a child. He made me feel he respected my opinion as much as one of his student's or another adult's.
He had an extensive vocabulary yet communicated clearly. He wasn't interested in impressing others. He was interested in learning and education.. "if you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it."
My father could have been very judgmental about education and degrees, but he was concerned with learning for the joy of it. He literally lit up when given the opportunity to help others,process information. He had been a Methodist Sunday school teacher for nearly two decades, so he was well prepared for this conversation.
He explained that the mustard seed represented a spiritual point of view and the mountain represented a problem or challenge. "The mustard seed story illustrates if we have faith, we can solve our problems. It is also about taking the responsibility to believe in ourselves enough to confront our concerns."
"But," he continued, "we don't necessarily have to solve a problem. Sometimes we can move a mountain by changing our perspective. If we have faith, and stop reacting and trying to fix things, we might find that what we perceived as a mountain is a blessing in disguise. We often make things harder than they have to be by trying to control everything."
My dad used an example that made the lesson clear. I had recently been concerned that a friend was mad at me because she had been avoiding me for a couple of days. She had been planning a surprise party for me. I had been angry and hurt and began avoiding her. Later, I felt terrible.
Faith comes from inside .We don't need to prove to anyone we have it if we do. It extends beyond the faith we have in ourselves. It is about giving others, and life's circumstances,, the benefit of the doubt, and not making judgements or assumptions.
I wrote this years ago, when my brother and I joined the Pine Street Presbyterian church in Harrisburg, PA. Recently, there are events causing me to question our county's direction. Revisiting this helped shift my perspective and give me peace of mind. I hope it will do the same for you.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!