The only kind of faith I’d ever been exposed to was the kind my parents told me I should have when they dragged a twelve year old me to a Hindu temple on Sundays and insisted I perform odd gestures to odd idols with an odd number of arms. Technically, it was an even number, but I found any number but two to be unusual. All kinds of particles would stick to my feet as they instructed me to kneel, touch my head to the floor, put this powder on my forehead, that powder on my neck, and throw rice at this thing or the other. I’d be entirely preoccupied cleaning my feet every several steps. I could never understand why the temples, rich enough to purchase gold-plated statues, couldn’t afford a decent sweep of the floors.
I thought faith was a puffed up show, driven by fear of death. And I thought faith was sticky. Either let me wear shoes or clean the floors, I thought. I couldn’t grasp how having dirty feet furthered faith.
I was sure I’d never have any use for faith.
Here’s the thing I always wonder: is it possible for me to be more wrong?
Usually the answer is yes, but I’m not sure in this instance.
As I move about our tiny Manhattan apartment, this molten sense of strength and fearlessness pulses me on to something greater, something larger. The idea of having a “use” for faith doesn’t even make sense to me any longer.
Oh, this is faith.
You don’t use it; you live it.
I’m not speaking about strictly religious faith. No, it’s much more than that. It’s an entire mode of living. I have faith that my husband cares about me and faith that we will raise our daughter the best we can. I have that our “best” tomorrow will be better than it was today. I have faith that as long as I am willing to learn and take the next step, I will. I have faith that there is some over-arching direction to my seemingly haphazard life. I have faith that every tortuous and uncomfortable step has led me purposefully to this place, fearless for a moment in Manhattan kitchen on a Thursday night. I have faith that if I remember to have faith, fear never has to be part of my life again.
I’m sure I’ll forget tomorrow and some fear or the other will creep into my unsuspecting mind. But who cares?
I have faith that there is love in the world. And that is all I need.