“Find safety in your faith.” I read this a while back, and I thought about it for a while. What is it that keeps us going? That makes us resilient, strong, and elastic to the point of stretching, displacing, but always coming back. Even if we are slightly damaged, we piece ourselves back together and keep going. What fuels that resilience? I believe it is faith.
Now, for me, faith and religion are two completely separate matters. Faith is defined as having complete trust in someone or something; religion is a spiritual relationship with a superior being, an ideology and set of behavioral guidance.
Your faith could be in whatever it is you want. You may have faith in a superior being, a God, whatever form He takes, that you completely trust; faith in a person, celestial energies, and science, whatever it is that gives you that sense of order and security; it is your faith. It is what brings about the calm after every storm, it’s the life-jacket you wear in the choppiest of waters, your safety net as you jump off. Your faith, is what breeds your resilience; and to me, resilience is the greatest human quality.
So what happens when you stop having that faith, or lose sight of it? What happens when you stop being resilient, when you stop springing back? You give up, you stop trying, and you believe, for however briefly or extensively, that your world has ended, that doomsday is upon you, and that life is no longer worth living.
You know these people, the ones that you see that smile in the face of every adversity, that no matter what they go through that breaks them, and no matter how much pain they go through still manage to come back up to the surface, bounce back, and eventually smile, and move on with life. These people are fueled by faith. Faith, that if not tomorrow, it’s going to be after, or after, and that eventually, whatever they believe so strongly in, will sort out their lives.
Generally, our relationship with faith, is not a straight line, but rather a wave, that oscillates between peaks and troughs, and if you’re observant enough, you will realize that after every trough there is a peak, and when that happens, the oscillations become less frequent, the relationship becomes steadier, and your faith is there, always.
When I was a child, my faith was in my parents, they were my superheroes, and I believed without the slightest doubt, that whatever it is that came my way, my parents will stop it, fix it. For the biggest part of my childhood, my parents and my family held true to that assumption. Then I grew up, and my problems went beyond booboos, scraped knees, bullies at school, or a broken toy. My problems turned into broken hearts, lost friendships, racism, discrimination and growing up. What they could do, was offer me advice, but they could not physically fix it, and that became the first test of my faith. I didn’t understand that their advice is the equivalent of a Band-Aid on top of a cut or bruise, and that it is their way of fixing it. Back then I didn’t understand that, so my center, my compass needle, my safety net, my faith, was shook.
Then came my first encounters with loss, I lost one of my best friends to cancer and once more my parents could not fix it, no one could fix it. Then the real encounters of life kept on happening, a heart break, a physical injury that lead to a slight but permanent disability, and I got scared, I didn’t want to think of the reality of it, and I lost my faith.
I didn’t trust that there was an up after the down, that my life hadn’t ended and that it will go on. I didn’t trust that there will be better days, and I lost my resilience, my oomph, my power to pick up and go on, to fall back into place after being displaced. I became a worn out elastic, with a very frail and weak point where it can snap and break, and I tiptoed around life, so terrified of this little part, that final worn out part of me snaps, and of the frayed elastic breaking.
What I didn’t understand back then is that it is ok if I snap, that if the elastic band breaks, and you tie it or fuse it back together, it doesn’t lose its elasticity. It might change shape, be slightly deformed in a sense, but it remains what it is, an elastic band. It will once more stretch, pull and spring back into place. That every time it breaks you can tie it and fuse it back together, until its time comes.
You cannot tip toe for life, and unless something is kept away from all elements of life, isolated in a vacuumed space, damage is bound to happen. That frayed part of you will snap, your weakest point will break you, and that’s absolutely ok.
When that happens, you have the choice, the choice to pick up, lift off and find it in you to tap into your faith, to understand that this is only one part of the cycle. You need to tap into your faith to find a better tomorrow, to see a future, even if on a displaced course, other than what you always dreamt of, it exists, it is there.
My perspective on faith has slightly changed, my faith shifted to be faith in the power of human perseverance. We are born to adapt, we are generally stronger than we give ourselves credit for. We’re powerful beings, with endless opportunities, no matter what the circumstances are, we have the power, if we want to, and if we have enough faith, to persevere.
To me, I find safety in my faith. I find safety in knowing that I am resilient. You need to understand that it doesn’t matter if you fall down a hundred times, as long as you try to get up one hundred and one times. You need to believe that if you fall for any reason from the top, then the higher your fall, the harder your drop, the harder and higher you will bounce back!
It doesn’t matter what it is that you choose to have faith in, as long as you always choose to believe, to have faith, then for me, you are safe. Always remember that we can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is to learn not to be afraid of pain, or change. Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don’t deny it, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain and the fear will be gone, and you will still be there. (Inspired by the quote from the beautiful Frida Kahlo)
So have faith, be powerful and most of all, be resilient.