Faith is a dirty word in modern-day society. When we talk about people of faith we tend to have our minds go to those people who follow every belief blindly and without question. They follow every dogma without regards to reason, repeating parrot-like responses. These individuals do indeed exist, however their faith is quite superficial. It is a product of laziness, ignorance, and fear. We all know these people. They can be family, friend, co-worker, or stranger. They will speak that they know the truth and anything but acceptance of this is unquestionable.
But this is not true faith.
Some people talk about how they have been given faith in their belief system by their Higher Power. They talk about how faith is a blessing. But faith isn’t really a gift either…it is more of a choice.
You see, no messenger has ever appeared to me. No god has every knocked on my door wanting to visit. I do not hear voices speaking to me in shrine like I am taking a telephone call. I do not wake up in the morning expecting magical awesome super-spiritual things to occur.
Everyday I wake up and I make a choice. Today I choose to have faith. I choose to believe. I choose to believe in the gods. I choose to believe in the ancestors. I choose to believe in the spirits. I choose to believe in my faith community. And it isn’t always easy. Some days it is very hard. Some days I think I am a fool. Some days I wonder if I am just crazy and deluding myself. Is all this true? Is it all worth it? Am I just as dumb as the next fool?
True faith is not dogmatic. True faith is open to reason. True faith is open to doubt. True faith is provisional and flexible.
True faith is like a tree. All it takes is a seed. That is all you need. Once the seed is planted it takes a long time before it grows into a strong and tall tree. Sometimes as your branches grow they may come in contact with an object, such as a house or wall. Someone without true faith will say, “Wall move! House get out of the way!” They expect that wall or house to move or their branch will slam right through it, not realizing how strong that house or wall is. But someone with true faith is like the tree that will see something in its way of growth, and go around it. It will continue to raise its branches high in the sky.
In the New Testament, Jesus tells his disciples that they only need to have faith the size of mustard seeds to move mountains. Even though I am not Christian I still see the wisdom in these words. Making the choice to believe can move the mountains in your life. I look and see what I have accomplished because of my faith, and I swell with love and pride.
Do you question your faith at time? I do. I am not perfect like the saints of old. What matters is making that choice.