I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately.
What does it mean to have faith?
Is there a role for doubt in faith?
What if I’m unsure sometimes, am I still a person of faith?
The questions never seem to end and most of the time, they don’t have an answer either.
Over the years, I’ve heard it said that people of faith are weak, that they need something to believe. That believers don’t have enough internal strength, that’s why they have to believe in something greater than themselves. I’ve seen memes mocking those who believe in God/Spirit by equating their beliefs to the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” (and dare I say that those memes might even have been shared in my own house!).
And while I would never tell anyone what to believe in, I encourage everyone to have some kind of belief system in place for that day when Crisis or Challenge knocks on your door. I believe that having faith in Something can help us navigate difficult life experiences. While I cannot promise you that your faith will take away all of the impending pain, I can promise that it has the potential to make your struggle easier.
I see it in my own life.
I remain in shock, disbelief and anger about the death of my beloved son, Yossi. It still doesn’t seem real and from what I’m told from parents who have lost children, it takes a very, very, very, very long time for it to feel real.
Every relationship that I am in has been challenged — my relationship with God, myself, my partner, my kids, my family, my friends, my acquaintances, even strangers. They have all been forced to change because I have changed. There are times when I feel like my life is imploding — my son is dead and many of my relationships have shifted or halted or changed or faded. Regardless of how these relationships have played out, I remain grateful for their presence in my life, past and present.
I am not the same person I was before this year and a half of hell.
I can never go back to being who I was.
There are days that I feel so despondent, so hopeless.
Days spent wondering how things will finally land.
Days filled with uncertainty.
Yet, in spite of it all. I have faith that I will be ok.
I believe that I will be ok.
I know that I will be ok.
Regardless of what is going on around me, I feel an internal strength that connects me deeply to the Source of All — call it God, Energy, Universal Lifeforce, Spirit, No-thingness — whatever you want to call It, it is that It that I know I am.
I remain grateful for my spiritual practice that has helped anchor me through this most difficult storm. Of course, there are days that I am simply unable to meditate, or go for a long walk, or count all of my many blessings. There are days that I have lost my mooring, when my sails are deflated and unable to receive even the gift of the wind. But I’ve learned to forgive myself, to have compassion for myself, and to begin again.
My spiritual practice has infused life into me in a way
that nothing else can.
For those of you who do have a spiritual practice, I hope you know what I mean. For those of you who don’t yet have a spiritual practice, I invite you to consider creating one. If you’d like to start but don’t know how, I’d be happy to speak with you about beginning your journey.
Having faith is not easy, especially when we look around at the world in which we live. Having faith requires strength and resilience. Believing that there is a Big Picture, Something Greater than us can be challenging. How does one acknowledge the Mystery, the Beyond beyond the Beyond? And then, there is the ultimate question of surrender. So much to think about related to faith that the task at hand seems daunting.
I get it.
I really do.
AND I believe it is worth the time and the effort to find out what you believe in and from where you draw your strength before the crisis arrives because when the crisis comes knocking at your door, you simply may not have the available bandwidth necessary to engage in this critical faith work. Engaging in faith work during and after a crisis is not impossible, but it will most likely be more challenging. My invitation:
Find your faith before the crisis arrives.
While I wish for all of us to live crisis-free, my understanding of what it means to be human doesn’t allow for that desire. So the question is, are you willing to look at your faith? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share your comments #below.