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?

Keep Trying (Even When It’s a Pain In the Neck- Literally)

WARNING: Bad language here today

A few days ago I kinked up my neck muscles and it’s taken me days to fully un-kink them but I still have to watch what I’m doing. This is the long-time consequence of having a seriously-crooked back like mine. Problem is, when the pain is that bad I can’t get comfortable and I can’t find a position to write in. And couple that with having trouble getting a grip on what to write… yeah, I’m sure you can see where this is going.

By the way, my neck is doing much better now.

I’ve told myself sometimes it’s hard to listen to my own advice and not think it’s total bullshit. But ‘Keep Trying’ isn’t bad advice because it’s not promising me anything. I’m not saying ‘Keep Trying and Things Will Get Better’. Some things may get better but shit will still happen. It’s getting through that shit that really counts sometimes. And I sure as hell don’t know all the ways to get through that because sometimes what’s worked in the past doesn’t work in the present.

But somehow I find the strength, fortitude, or just plain old stubborn-pride to keep going. Maybe it’s also the fact that I like a roof over my head and food in my belly that keeps me going, too. And that’s okay, in fact I think it’s more than okay to keep going out of sheer survival sometimes and not some high-and-mighty purpose. I think people should be recognized for just getting through each day in one piece because sometimes that’s all you can do. After time, though, I do believe that moments of clarity will come to show possible changes in direction. But keeping on through each and every day is momentum despite what some a-holes might say isn’t. And it’s not just that we’re all on our way to the grave together, but that until the Earth stops turning and or the sun eats our planet, that’s the way it will always be.

There is a criticism leveled at people who work long hours or multiple jobs for low pay for not doing anything other than just working so hard just to survive. Criticism is leveled at them for not going to school to get more skills, or getting a job that pays more, or not working so many hours to spend more time with their children, or not being involved in political or social activism.

To those critics I will say one thing: Fuck You.

That criticism is such a slap in the face to all those people who just are trying to get through one day at a time. Because trust me, they know there is a world beyond their own and yes, they want to be a part of that, and they want more out of life in general, and they want to do better. But running your mouth at them, hammering them with guilt or condemnation isn’t going to solve their problems. All I can do is just say ‘good job’ with the survival and keep trying to get through every day in one piece. And this is why I feel my advice sometimes is total bullshit because although my words might bring a bit of support to somebody, they’re not really doing enough to solve problems.

Maybe I’m not meant to be a problem-solver on any kind of scale, and that’s a hard thought to deal with sometimes. It’s also hard to deal with the fact that I honestly don’t think I’m reaching anyone outside of a very tiny circle of people. And I’m still afraid some critical-asshole will go after me and say that I should just keep my mouth shut and write stories or work a dead-end job then die. And worst of all, that I will back down. I hope that I won’t in the face of that bullshit but I will have a hell of a fight on my hands.

So this ‘Keep Trying Even If It Is a Pain in the Neck’ advice isn’t just keep going despite the pain, but also keep going as an act of defiance against critical-assholes. My father used to say it was pointless to beat the crap out of a drunk or an idiot and he was right. But I would also add it’s pointless to go after someone who runs their damn mouth at you then walks away and forgets what they said five minutes later. Being afraid to write this down and get that kind of shit is what holds me back. And it’s what I have to ‘Keep Trying’ to fight against.

So I’m posting this now before I can change my mind and edit this down any further.