I’m not sure I really know how to have faith anymore. I live in the black and white world of facts. In the realm of the tangible. Where I know something. I don’t feel it. Faith was always feeling for me. It was the grey between the black and white. The mere idea of faith shakes my core, because it’s about not knowing, it’s about believing. Feeling it in your heart that things will okay, and that you will endure. Not planning and plotting how you will survive.
Faith was more about being. Just the simple idea of BE. Not plotting, scheming, planning or thinking. It’s about turning your brain off and just feeling. Being. The simplicity of it seems almost stupid to a point. Not the concept of believing but the concept of being seems so stupidly simple to me, that you should just be able to do it without even thinking. …. Right?
The funny thing is, it’s not that simple. Maybe the idea of it is, but the actuality of it, is that it’s more complex then that. Because you’re not fighting and surviving. You surrender yourself to something bigger than yourself. Facts are isolating. Thinking can be isolating as well. But believing? Having faith is so much bigger, and so much more complex then that. Because of that surrender, you aren’t giving yourself up. You aren’t auctioning off sections of yourself to something else. You are giving yourself whole, as you are. Broken, unbent, unbowed. That beautiful mess that all humans are. We give that to an idea or a belief that is so much grander than we are. Faith can be something that helps us even more than just survival. Faith is something that gives us hope on those hopeless nights. It can light our fires and allow us to keep fighting even when it seems like our battles will beat us.
I had faith as a kid. I could surrender myself to something external. I could believe. I had the capacity for it. Maybe I wasn’t that stubborn then. (I’ve always been stubborn, but less so.) Maybe it’s the flexibility we naturally have as children. That the world hasn’t beaten our imaginations out of us, and we are still able to look at the world with wide hopeful eyes. We aren’t bogged down by fears and insecurities. We are able to imagine great and utterly captivating worlds where we can spend hours in. We don’t get tired as easily, and we aren’t afraid. We are fearless, powerful creatures as children. Maybe that’s what fuels faith. Being fearless. Being okay with the idea of throwing our hearts and minds into something that we have no idea how it will turn out. We aren’t so careful with our hearts. We fall, and we learn the ground is hard because of it. We learn lessons, because we try. We don’t have to plan out everything so carefully that we take away the magic of it. Maybe faith is just magic, and as we grow, we get it beaten into our heads that magic is nothing more than stuff of legends.
Do we have our freedom taken from us? To try to fit into this box that so many of us don’t really truly belong in? That maybe that stupid cookie cutter box is nothing more than an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes and to blind us from the truth that faith is what keeps humanity going. That being stupid and fearless and free is what keeps our species surviving.
Creativity requires a massive amount of faith. Often we do it for no recognition, no monetary reward. We do it, because there is some part of us that has to do it. We crave it. We need to exorcise that part of us, that it helps us understand our place in this massive universe. On our little blue marble of a planet, we are so small and so big, it’s a mind-blowing concept. That we are special, and we aren’t at the same time. Is that why we created religion to help us deal with the comprehension of this concept? That maybe if we were purposely created by something bigger than us, then we are special. I’m not a theologian, and I don’t really understand enough about religions to argue why they were created and why they are practiced so widely, but faith is something that feeds into it. That you need to have faith in order to be religious, spiritual or even a non-practicing secular, or a non-believer. Even the most militant atheist needs to have faith that nothing exists. We have to have faith in something. Whether we believe in a God, a Pantheon of Gods or none of the above. It all comes from the same core. We need to have something to put there.
The dictionary has a definition of Faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” So whether it’s God, it’s the President, it’s your Mom or it’s YOU. There is faith. Faith stems from trust. From an unwavering devotion that this person or this idea or this thing will not let me down. I think that’s why when our faith is shattered, it’s hard for us to believe again. That once our trust is broken, it’s difficult to let people in. Especially when it’s someone who you had complete faith in. A parent, a spouse, the universe, God, Shiva, Who or Whatever, when that is tested, and shaken, it doesn’t just rock our boats, we feel the rumble of that earthquake to the core of our being. That when something happens, sometimes we can shake it off, and move on. Sometimes we get stuck in the aftermath of the earthquake. That we try to clean up the rubble, but we feel the after math for months, years or even until the day we take our last breath. We can take the broken faith to the grave with us.
Sometimes we fix our faith. We clean up the rubble, and we patch it up. We build stronger cores, and we are able to be a little more picky with where we place our faith. We are able to forgive, but we don’t forget. You don’t forget an earthquake like that. It’s all so dependent on the person and what they feel capable of doing. I feel cowardly sometimes, because I still like feel the quakes, I like rummaging through the rubble and seeing the aftermath. I enjoy feeling the aftermath of my broken faith. It’s definitely not healthy. And I think it’s very seductive to want to keep poking the bruise, even after it’s healed. Because you learn through broken faith, that your brain somehow makes a new connection of this is what I deserve. And it’s not. It’s not what anyone truly deserves. No one should have their cores shaken and their hearts broken, but we don’t always live in a fair world. I think fair and deserve are tricky words and tricky concepts. Because people will often say that you should treat people fairly, and yeah at a base level, it makes sense. But no two people are truly alike. I’m not the same as anyone else, and I shouldn’t be treated and given the exact same things as other people. Because it’s not what I need. It’s not how I can have faith. I can’t rebuild myself with parts for a broken sink, when I have a broken car. The gesture is nice, but it’s not what’s needed.
I can’t pretend to be someone else. It doesn’t do any good for anyone, especially myself. It’s very easy to group yourself in with other people. Maybe for a fear of standing out, and people seeing you for what you really are. I can’t pretend to have faith in A, when I have faith in B. It’s not fair and and it’s not what I deserve. See it’s still tricky. Because so many of us will go through life and maybe deny ourselves some of those things that are fair to us, and maybe things we deserve, and we sacrifice a part of ourselves for it. Yes, there are comprises and sacrifices that need to be made as you go through life, but there are some things that really should never fall into that comprise category. I can’t tell anyone what they should do with their life and what choices they should make. I can really only worry about myself. I find this a difficult thing to do.
Especially when I don’t have faith in myself. I don’t trust myself to do what I have do to. I don’t trust myself to have the strength I need, to stand up for myself when I have to, and to pick my battles wisely. I don’t have faith that I will ever be happy, or even content. I don’t have faith that I will figure anything out. This is something I need to confront and I need to find the strength to have that faith. Even if I have to fake it til I make it. I have to learn how to surrender myself to something bigger than myself. It’s not backing down and it’s not giving it. It’s not falling down. It’s re-learning that flexibility from childhood. Learning that imagination isn’t bad, and believing in magic is not silly. It’s having faith that the universe is gonna help hold you up, and take care of you, even when you can’t take care of yourself. It’s believing that your words are worthy of being heard, and your voice is worth more than you could ever imagine. Have a little bit of faith in yourself, or whatever you need to get through life. Believe that your hand will be held and your back is protected. That your battles will not overtake you, and that you are worth having faith in.