I've been thinking about faith quite a bit lately. More importantly I've been thinking about when and why we lose it. Faith, the belief in something we can't see, touch, taste, hear it is an amazing thing to hold onto and yet we are so quick to let go-to run from it.
As children we are born with nothing but faith and love. In life we learn fear and hatred. How many of us allow the later to take over our lives. At what point do we decide faith is not enough, it is make believe, it is for the weak? At what point do we allow our differences to cloud our judgement? When, in our lives, is life just not enough.
A baby tries to stand and falls. This baby tries and tries and tries falling over and over and over again and yet never stops trying. That is faith-a belief that if I try often enough I will prevail. Does a baby know why they want to stand, the purpose behind standing, what it leads to? They see someone they love encouraging them and cheering them on with every effort, becoming more and more excited as the goal becomes more a reality. We put our precious little teeth under our pillow because we hope that in the morning there will be a prize, a reward from the Tooth Fairy. We sit on Santa's lap telling him our greatest wishes because we have faith that he will, somehow, come through on at least one of those wishes. Our childhood is dictated by faith, the unknown and yet we dive right in, never hesitating, never giving a second thought to any of it. That is, until someone or something begins to tell us otherwise. The first time a friend says there is no such thing, we begin to falter. The first time we wake up to a tooth that was never taken away, we begin to falter.
As adults the issues are so much bigger than trying to stand for the first time, loosing that first tooth, or seeing Santa for the first time, at least we think they are. What would happen if we took the innocence and trust we had as children and carried it with us all through our lives? What if every ding in our armor did not make us falter but made us stronger because we knew if we keep at it we will prevail. The baby knows it will prevail and ultimately does, no matter how many falls it takes.
Life is full of "falls". Divorce, death, loss of a job, bankruptcy, bad relationships, misspoken words, misunderstandings all these things can make us falter or they can make us stronger. As the bumps of life begin so many of us loose ourselves and our faith in the misfortune, in the bumps, the falls. How amazing would it be if each of us took those opportunities to better ourselves, to grow as people and to grow our relationships and strengthen our faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in our friends, faith in our love, faith in Christ. We all carry a little faith with us or we would never move. It is faith that we will get to the store safely that allows us to get in the car and drive. It is faith that allows us the strength to speak our minds, to defend ourselves, to stand up for others. Is it a lack of faith that causes us to withdraw and retreat, to fight back, to arm up in great defense? Is fear and faithless the same thing?
Insecurities about ourselves and our life choices can rear their ugly head at anytime. These insecurities are a lack of faith in ourselves. Not all choices are the right choices but that is life. Not all insecurities are brought on by life choices, sometimes things happen. Yet, when people presume to know or when they question us and our thoughts we become defensive, as if we need to defend our lives; who we are and why we are at this particular place in our life. As faith dwindles our insecurities become stronger. Often times we don't see, we miss this. People say things to us and we find ourselves hurt and angry and wondering what gave them the right. We have now lost faith in them and that relationship. Is it easier to walk away from faith than it is to face what could very well be a reality we refuse to see. Let's think of this as if it were an office. When the manager sits everyone down in a circle and says tell each other how you feel about one another what types of results do you get. Do we here how wonderful we are, are we boosted up, are our own inflated egos even now larger than before? What if that same manager hands out pieces of paper with nothing more than a name and instruction to write down how you feel about this person? How different are the answers going to be? If we are true to ourselves and honest with ourselves how many of us would have faith that if we sent out a form to our friends and family asking them to speak truly to us about us we would embrace and agree with every word. Perception is everything-do the people around us perceive us in the same way we do.
When asked how I can still have faith in Christ-how I can still believe in God after loosing a child my response is always the same, how can I not. I have walked a long hard path and so many times I wanted to quit. Stop, walking. Stop, moving. Simply, stop. Had I not had faith I would have stopped and I would not be here today. I'm not talking death or suicide, I'm talking giving up. Retreating 100% from life, from the world. I quit drinking socially for fear that funny feeling in the head would take me away and it would feel so good I would become a drunk. It is God and my faith that kept me from grabbing those drinks. It was faith that kept me from getting in my car and driving away, leaving everyone behind never to hear or see from me again. Faith takes us in different directions, it holds us up when we fall. So yes, with faith I don't believe we ever actually hit the ground, the bottom. Like a baby whose bum never really hits the ground when they fall with all that diaper to protect them, our faith protects us from truly hitting the ground. I never open a conversation with I lost a daughter. I never open a conversation with any of the bad in my life. Few people are privy to my story and that is because my story doesn't have to define me. If I let it define me, if I let it be the opening chapter in every phase of my life that is me saying, "I am nothing more than this" and that is saying, "I do not have faith that I am more than my circumstances".
Faith. We are all more than our circumstances. We are all full of amazing wonder with the ability to light up the world. We all have the ability to believe, to let faith guide our walk through this life. Telling Santa what we want when we were 5 was so easy, knowing we won't fall when we are 40 can be just as easy. Why and when do we begin to walk away from this truth? Hold onto it, grasp it and hold it tight.
Faith will take care of you.