Keeping the Faith

My maternal grandmother used to say you either had faith or you didn’t, no two ways about it. For a long time, I thought that didn’t take into account the complexities of this world and the vast amounts of gray there are sometimes. But I’ve come to the conclusion that she was right.

For me, if I don’t believe in something then I don’t see a reason to do something. Because to me, faith is about caring, caring about yourself and the world around you, and a belief that if you don’t give up on yourself or the world around you, then things will work out in some way.

I don’t believe in a faith that’s all about pleasing some mystical all-knowing all-seeing force commonly referred to as God. I don’t see God as an old white bearded guy hurling shit down on top of humans for every little fuck-up or bad thought. That’s just the work of some dumb-ass human trying to keep other humans in line and keep them from questioning or challenging things that need to be challenged. I see God as a force beyond our limited understanding but that our own decisions and actions are what drives life here on Earth. I believe in free will, and the ability to make decisions and solve problems. And I believe in the good of this world despite all the awful shit in it. To me, those last two things are what define my faith: the ability to make decisions, and a belief that good will always triumph over bad.

It’s something that I need to remind myself some days more than others because fear and anxiety can grip me as hard as it wants to, and only my faith can loosen that grip. Sometimes this means taking things one day at a time, just get through this day and worry about the next one when it comes.

Another thing about faith is that it acknowledges the great mysteries in life itself, the past, present, and future, and what is beyond this world. Because not all questions have answers, and I wonder if some questions are never meant to have answers. Faith in regards to the great mysteries is saying to keep living even if you don’t have all the answers and know that you won’t ever find all of those answers either.

So whenever I think I’m a fuck-up for making things up as I go along and just dealing with crap as it comes, I tell myself that’s alright. I tell myself it’s alright because no one, not me or anyone else, knows what’s going to happen next. I think the only thing I can say for certain will happen next is that the sun will come up tomorrow because scientists say that our sun has about four-billion years of life left in it before it turns into a giant star and incinerates the Earth. And if they’re wrong… well, we haven’t found a way to get off this rock and colonize another world yet so why worry about that, too?

Faith: It’s What You Put Into It

I was feeling a bit down this morning because of things like a perpetually-tight bank account and some body aches and pains that just didn’t seem to want to go away. Of course I told myself to have faith that this crap won’t last forever, followed by the thought that I just needed to keep working towards my goals despite feeling like I’ve gone ten rounds with Godzilla and lost. Then I had this thought: Faith is what you put into it.

My grandmother used to say you either had faith your didn’t, no two ways about it. For a while I didn’t quite agree with that as I thought it didn’t take into account the gray areas of life. I still see those gray areas, but I also see there aren’t many of them. I’m beginning to think that gray areas are mostly indecision, fear, along with pessimism and cynicism where there shouldn’t be.

I want to do better in my life, and I know that I have to work for that. I just can’t curl up in bed and sleep it off like I want to. And by the way, I’m feeling better now that I’m working on this and have gotten up and moved a little. But understand that I’m NOT saying that just getting up and moving is a be-all-end-all solution, either. Those absolute solutions don’t exist at all but faith in finding a way to solve problems does, and that does take into account those times when you just have to sleep it off.

So faith is not only the effort you put into it, but not being too hard on yourself either. Temper that faith with kindness and generate hope and optimism, but keep the cynicism going because there are people and things in the world that deserve to be called out for their stupidity and bullshit.

But as I’ve thought about this idea this morning I’ve begun to realize this is a part of that ‘breaking radio silence’ thing I’ve got going on. In fact, I think I might have found the sub-title for the book with this ‘faith is what you put into it’. The subtitle I’m considering is ‘finding faith in myself through the past and present for the future’ (a bit wordy but worth considering).

This is definitely something I’ll be thinking on for quite a while so stay tuned.