That mass is sticking with me. As you very well know, I am not a typically religious person. I was at Church on Saturday because of family, out of respect for the birthday of my wife’s deceased father, who clearly had an impact on many. His intentional love is remembered, celebrated and lives on in his family, it grows even beyond his mortal life (another example of the physics-defying nature of love).
The Gospel passage was Matthew 14:22-33, about Jesus Walking on Water:
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
For the most part, I take the Bible as allegorical, with metaphorical lessons woven into it that are interpreted by its representatives. As such, I will simply state my interpretation, which very much follows the pastor’s sermon that followed. Simply put, the act of faith, of belief in Jesus allowed Peter to walk on water. Doubt, a crisis of this faith, led to temporary sinking, but temporary it was. Temporary it was because faith, belief inevitably carried Peter through, carried him into the arms of Jesus. There was nothing more than acting with belief that carried Peter above the water and a crisis of faith that caused him to sink.
Of course, my interpretation includes recovery. Recovery is very similar to this. Recovery happens because of intention, attention and setting the stage wisely, but it starts with belief. True belief in recovery and acting with belief (even if you don’t entirely, yet), creates. Acting like you believe, because those are caring acts of loving faith – even if blind or incomplete, even if it is intentionally “faking it until you make it,” even if it is a form of exposure therapy – have strength and courage. Acting like you believe will create, and will thereby quash the doubts, quash the crises of faith and it will no longer be blind or incomplete, recovery will be fulfilled. And it all started with belief.
I am sure that the sermon and mass is sticking with me because of the relevance to something I told my wife earlier that day, about Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell exists, lives, thrives, enjoys her very existence simply through the act of believing. In Peter Pan, you clap to believe in fairies and sure enough, they emerge stronger and brighter:
Again, simply through believing, having faith and acting with intention so that this belief and faith translates into fairies, magic, religion and recovery. If the connections between recovery, the Son of God and Disney don’t convince you, the power and strength of simply acting like you believe should be thoroughly demonstrated with the help of our friends Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural fame: