That is a loaded word. It is usually associated with religious jargon, but does not have to be. Many do not understand it at it's core or utilize it's value. Faith can easily be misunderstood and be taken for hope- a bird of a different color.
Faith is a complete trust and is based in the knowledge that that something will be a certain way, whereas hope is based in wishes and human desire. Faith can precede wisdom. Hope cannot.
Perhaps 4 or 5 years ago, I was feeling quite destitute- heart and soul. After a long battle with some heavy depression, I had no idea how to process through my disturbing thoughts or where to put my unnerving emotions. I was completely exhausted, run-down so much I was literally thread-bare. Even the basic day to day goings on were difficult for me.
I remember sitting in my living room with a friend who understood first-hand what I had been going through, telling her my woes. I was throwing myself a first-rate pity party and whining about something or another being to hard to deal with. She did not let me go on for too long before she put the kibosh on my complaining. She told me that I had to stop that destructive cycle and have a little faith that things would be different- and soon...
In an instant I had a slight case of emotional whiplash!
Have faith?!? Who- ME?!?
I was appalled, unnerved and slightly offended at her suggesting MY having faith. I made mention of some drivel about religion and blah blah blah and before I could go on one of my rants, she set me straight. Told me to drop the self-righteous airs about the church and it's zealots, and really think about it-
You can have faith and believe in god, a higher power, the great spirit or something wiser and more enlightened than us humans- or not. But it is a deeper believing than that that gives power to faith. I needed to have faith that my circumstances would change for the better, have faith that I deserved for them to get better and hold onto faith that even though I had no clue how this was going to happen, I had to believe it would.
After pointing out precise ways I actually did have faith in my life, my dear friend opened my eyes to my realizing that I do actually have faith. It was a truly humbling experience. I wanted to be mad. Mad at myself for being depressed, mad at the concept of a god who failed me, mad at the cold, harsh world who did not accept or understand me- and in one afternoon, my house of cards fell.
Faith took those false weights and removed them from my shoulders. Poof. Gone. It was now up to me to take my troubles and do something else with them. I wrote them out in a new light. I took more meditative walks, hours spent deeply in prayer. I constantly told myself that I didn't have to know the future but I could believe in it being brighter than my past. And it really helped.
Now I am not a religious person at all. AT ALL. But I am very spiritual. I adhere to my own set of concepts and ideas (beliefs is too strong a word) that I live by. Although I admire the architecture of churches and other “holy” buildings of worship, you will not catch me in one for churchy services. Weddings and funerals is pretty much where it starts and stops. And the occasional orchestra/concert.
I have faith, in many ways. I never would have thought I would say that- but it's true.
We are never backed up into a corner.
There is always a way out, even when we cannot see it.
Photos taken by me at the Boston Arboretum.