My robe is itchy. There’s several threadbare patches I can no longer strategically cover with strange posture, and the tears are no longer subtle. It bothers my small remaining sense of dignity that this is all I have to wear to the temple today, especially when all the others are dressed in such elaborate finery. It bothers me enormously to come to the temple at all. But I come with my offering, Just As I Am.
I don’t know if He sees me: I’m small and poor and so very alone. I hope against hope that He’s there, and that all of those lovely sentiments about His boundless love are true, because I am a bound one, constricted with grief and the aches that love brings. My husband is gone. He’s been dead for so long that I’ve forgotten the sound of his voice. I wake screaming in the dark because I can see his tear-streaked face as he’s speaking to me, and I. Can. Not. Hear. Him. I wonder if it’s strange that I long for these nightmares: I can see him while I’m dreaming. But, after so long, even his face is fading from my mind. My love is a silent fading shadow.
Sometimes, I pray for the endless sleep of death because I hope in death I will be able to hear him again.
I don’t know if Yahweh notices me or hears my prayers. To be a widow is to be largely invisible. My prayers are so honest they’re probably sins. I am certain He has no need of my two mites. But, I also know that my mites are not important; what matters is my small faith.
Faith is doubt. It is uncertainty, stumbling on water in the dark. Faith is the struggle to stand and the repeated near drownings. It is the terrible insecurity of “I just don’t know.” There’s a reckless sort of courage in that sort of faith. Some would call it stupidity, perhaps. They may be right, but that’s not the point. Faith is sort of stupid: it’s a belly flop into a sea of unknown creatures and unexplored depths. Who does that but the slightly…nuts?
Faith is this walk up to the temple treasury with only two mites to my name. It’s the ridiculous contrast of my insignificance against the value of these loud wealthy ones that surround me. It’s the fight against the perception that I’m inadequate, the purposed steps to the gilded box, and the pathetic jingle of my all as the coins fall from my hands.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I often wonder if the kingdom of heaven is as light and intangible as air. What a beautiful joke that would be: such an abundant and necessary thing, so worthless until it’s gone.
Faith is letting go while being all in, walking out of the church and the miracle of catching His approving eye as the heavy doors close behind me.