Reflections About A Mustard Seed

Aug 04, 2014
Tagged with: Reflections About A Mustard Seed

I read an article called the “Struggle for Faith”. The author suggests that “unless we are content to be intellectually, logically, and spiritually static, we must move in new directions, open up new avenues, and remain discontent (and restless) with what we presently know.”[i]

My walking program represents the essence of not being static. I am constantly trying to move in new directions and open up new avenues. The avenue that I did not expect to open up is one of faith and spiritual growth. For the purposes of this article, l define faith as “the conviction of things not seen”. This concept comes out of the Bible, Hebrews 11:3.

I have not yet seen my end result, however I have the conviction that I will walk without assistive devices full- time. I have read that “Spiritual development is dynamic and dialectical, that is, the art and practice of arriving at the truth through an exchange of logical arguments.[ii] What is clear to me is that spiritual development is not linear and it does not necessarily result from logical arguments. My endeavor to walk device-free has been a process of seeking and dwelling in sometimes uncomfortable spaces.

I recall one of those recent uncomfortable spaces. It was early on a Wednesday morning, I stared at my alarm clock and watched as the numbers changed from 12:00 AM to 1:15 AM. My body ached from the base of my shoulders to the bottoms of my feet. I was feeling the physical effects from my last training session.

At least twice a week, I train with my Movement Specialist, as part of my exercise and walking program. The aftermath from a training session and the effect from new techniques we use can be prolonged. I have learned over time to expect the ache I was feeling in my upper and lower limbs.

I was also experiencing the effects of tactile hyper-sensitivity. When objects such as cloth or fabric come into contact with a person’s skin in a state of hyper-sensitivity, it can cause intense physical discomfort. I tossed my blankets aside temporarily gaining relief from the sensory overload. I have explained the sensation of tactile hyper-sensitivity to others using the analogy of a shirt tag scratching a person’s skin.

We’ve all had shirt tags that have scratched us between the neck and shoulder blades. Imagine not being able to remove the tag and having that scratching sensation travel up and down your back, arms, and legs and not stop. I looked at my clock again and determined that over six hours had passed since my training session ended. I dangled my legs over the edge of my bed waiting. I physically and mentally braced for the sensory flood that was about to occur when my feet touched the floor. My legs wobbled. My balance was tenuous.

I do not routinely use my walking poles inside my house. I only use them to navigate outside. I reached for the walking poles that I had placed beside my bed as a precaution. I found I needed the poles to stabilize and steady myself. I moved from my bedroom to my office. I tossed the poles aside and sat down gingerly on the chair. Contact with the chair caused the tactile sensations I was experiencing to intensify.

My computer hummed as everything switched on. It was 1:30 AM. I entered my friend Lynda’s forum on Spirituality. In this virtual space I became a part of group. Over time, I have found the forum to be a setting for learning, support, comfort, and solace. My friend greeted me with the statement “You are up late.”

I replied that I could not sleep. My friend quickly recognized that I was weary and in moderate discomfort. “I am writing sermons.” She said. I listened as she rehearsed the opening lines of one of the sermons. I have written previously about my friend’s eloquence and presence. My friend captivates me every time she speaks.

She started to read from Psalm 69:29, which says in part, “I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!” It has been over 15 years since I sat in a church for a weekly sermon. Lynda’s voice brought me back to sermons I heard long ago about having faith, even if the belief and conviction is the size of a mustard seed.

I had to revisit the reference and analogy of the mustard seed. A review of biblical and theological literature describes the mustard seed as the smallest of seeds.[iii]   In one writer’s interpretation, the seed represents “small beginnings” compared to the “greatness of result”.[iv]   The author explains “The small seed of the present does not represent avenues of growth, development, or the final result.”[v]  Lynda finished her recount of her sermon and spoke my name. “Kerry, go to bed. Let your body reset.”  Unquestioningly, I followed this instruction, knowing that Lynda was supporting the growth of my own ‘mustard seed’.  In the context of my walking program, I choose to experience the moments of tactile hyper-sensitivity and discomfort to “sow the seed” of faith and nurture physical and spiritual growth.

Tell me NCHPAD Readers, how do you nurture faith during times of discomfort and growth?

NCHPAD articles:

http://www.nchpad.org/281/1784/Primer~on~Pain

http://www.nchpad.org/Directories/Programs/11023/Walking~Program~-~Pennsylvania~Center~for~Adapted~Sports

http://www.nchpad.org/Directories/Programs/7613/Walk~for~Life~-~Cooper~Aerobics~Center

 

 

 

[i] Singarayar, J. (2014). The Struggle for Faith. Priest, 70(8), 23-24.

[ii] Sandage, S. J., Jankowski, P. J., & Link, D. C. (2010). QUEST AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT MODERATED BY SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION. Journal Of Psychology & Theology, 38(1), 15-31.

[iii] Harrington, D. J. (2008). Mustard, Wheat and Weeds. America, 199(1), 31.

[iv] Harrington, D. J. (2008). Mustard, Wheat and Weeds. America, 199(1), 31.

[v] Harrington, D. J. (2008). Mustard, Wheat and Weeds. America, 199(1), 31.

 

Author: Kerry



  • bobl07

    This seems like this current struggle could be about you needing to go to church. I like St. Paul’s verse in 1 Corinthian: 9-24 about running the race. I think you are in the midst of a great run. Keep up the good work.

  • Guest

    Bob, I agree many challenges are equal to running a race. There are steps to conquering a challenge- from choosing the best starting position to not being distracted.
    We all can become distracted. I have had many mentors who have taught me to have conviction and focus. Faith can be a tool to help us keep our conviction and focus. Faith and its influence have a place in helping us conq

  • Kerry Wiley

    Bob, I agree many challenges are equal to running a race. There are steps to conquering challenges- from choosing the best starting position to not being distracted.

    We all can become distracted. I have had many mentors who have taught me to have and keep conviction and focus. Faith can be a tool to help us to maintain our conviction and focus. Faith and its influence is not something I have seen widely discussed for people with disabilities in athletics. Tell me NCHPAD readers, how does faith influence you in sports or conquering challenges?
    Kerry A. Wiley

  • Kerry Wiley

    Faith and its influence have a place in helping us conquer what we have yet to overcome.