Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Faith Means

The concept of faith is something that feels like it has been haunting me lately. I think a lot about how easy it is to lose our faith in the goodness of others. Or, how easily we lose faith in our own abilities. Faith isn't something we can touch or call by name--it's just the belief that things really are going to be alright. This perhaps is why it's so easy to let it fade into the background; it's not something we can ever really touch. It's just something that we feel.

Often, we talk about faith in the religious context, but I have to believe it's a bit more universal than that. Do you really have to believe in something specific in order to have faith? I believe that the concept of faith is something that lives in each of us, regardless of our beliefs. It taps into the core of who we are and how we choose to live our lives in what can sometimes be a messy world.

It's easy to lose faith when it feels like things are crumbling beneath our feet. Or, when the storm in our life begins to swirl and we become fearful of what will remain when the wind settles. It's in those moments, I think, that we have to call upon our faith to survive. To put one foot in front of the other, believing that we will survive.

More and more, I realize that faith isn't about getting what you want--it's about knowing that you will always get exactly what you need. Maybe it won't happen today or tomorrow, but it will happen in time. And it will happen as it's meant to, which sometimes arrives as a blessing in disguise.

I have always believed that my life will unfold just as it should, even when it would have been easier to give up or lose faith in myself or the world. It's easier to talk about having faith than it is to actually have it, but living a life of unwavering beliefs and convictions will always take you where you need to go.

What I believe is this: what you put out into the world will come back to you in spades. Some call it karma, others call it the Golden Rule, but how you treat people, what you do when no one is looking, how hard you work, and whether or not you are willing to be brave enough to speak the truth will always come charging back toward you someday.

My mother has always explained it to me like this: people always get exactly what they deserve, either in this world or the next.

 This takes away the responsibility of exacting what you might call revenge upon someone else. It's not your job to punish people---including yourself---for the ills of this world. It's your position to be the best you that you can be and let the rest of the pieces fall where they will.

"But there were some things I believed in. Some things I had faith in. And faith isn't about perfect attendance to services, or how much money you put in the little plate. It isn't about going sky clad to the Holy Rites, or meditating each day upon the divine.

Faith is about what you do. It's about aspiring to be better and nobler and kinder than you are. It's about making sacrifices for the good of others--even when there's not going to be anyone telling you what a hero you are." -Jim Butcher

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