Faith is a tough nut to crack, done with consistence is near impossible for me. Wikipeda says, “Faith is trust, hope and belief in the goodness or trustworthiness, of a person, concept or entity.” I can go with that. I understand faith is something that I can’t wrap my hands around, capture on film, or set up an experiment with set variables to measure, meter or prove. Faith and proof thereof is empirical data at best. Faith is by nature like smoke or mist, translucent as it slides across the skin and distinct in its flavor to the tip of my tongue. It leaves an unmistakable residue like a fingerprint. I am clear when it has come to play; its presence resonates deep in my core. But if you ask me “how will I know for sure about X, Y or Z” of which something that is faith based and intangible in nature I can only point you one place, inward. We all have an internal guidance system that can point us to our true north, the truth, and peace, really whatever the body is craving. Our answers do not lie outside of ourselves, they lie within. Faith is just one vehicle for this journey.
I go through life with my hands full. Sometimes they are full of fear, worry, ‘what ifs’ other times faith, hope and love. I assume if I live a balanced life, a good life that fear and worry will be smallish specters that hover but never land. But as it turns out that has never been true in my experience, that lack of fear just means one thing: numb. Fear gives me a context for love, for hope, for joy and faith is what transports me. I am not saying I don’t work at it, but I have no way to know if I eat that donut, take that walk or kiss a handsome stranger that I will be closer to fine. I have faith that by putting one foot in front of the other and making choices that feel good I will find my answers. Faith I will land at contentment, laughter or go ass over teakettle and still be okay. I am open to the possibility that all that I believe could be wrong. I can only do the best I can with the information I have at this one shining moment. When it is gone, more will be revealed because I have chosen to take another step forward. It is like peeling back the layers of an onion.
There are no guarantees, life is not fair, and one size does not fit all. Those points are some of the truest pieces of data I have come across. I don’t see any of that as bad either, they just are. When I try to apply one or all of them to life as if it was a commandment is when things go bad. When I expect life to offer up some of those tidbits as true and real is when I find myself estranged, evicted, sitting on the side of a road with a dead cell phone wearing an ill-fitting garment in an ill fitted life. Faith in someone else’s fiction, beliefs, assessment of me, lands me exactly nowhere I want to be. Faith like love starts at home. It starts with believing in myself to know the truth when I hear it, see it or touch it.
What makes faith so tough is I have to practice it over and over to get a feel for it. I have to go into that nasty limbo place and just wait, just sit, just be. All the while my head is berating my stupidity and screaming that I should be doing A, B, C, my stomach is home to a nest of hornets and I am cursing like a sailor. Despite this internal activity faith demands I hold tight to my belief, vision and trust to stay my course. The better I am at using that internal guidance system the better my results. If I am taking cues from external data well… that can land me some place that does not fit. Practice only prepares me for the sequence of emotions like fear, anger, recrimination, despair, the feeling of being lost or crazy… it is a catalog of mental illness (if you are me). If I let it wash over me and hold on I am generally rewarded with quiet first, a peaceful stillness where I can see the road, the truth, my way. I think what all the fuss was about and I am ready to go again. Knowing what a storm entails lets me weather it. Practicing my ability to stand still and not doing anything when I am not clear what to do is courage under fire. It is faith in motion, rolling across my skin, pricking at my tongue beckoning forward into the mist with clear vision.