Sunup is about lift on my side of the mountain. I can see the band of light blue at the horizon. I am quiet now and listening to the sounds of my home, the heat, which clanks in the radiators, the wind, which I can hear when it gusts, and me,armed with my cup of coffee; I am content for the moment to breathe in and enjoy the stillness of morning.
I was asked by a reader if I believe in God, which I do, and we speak often and frequently about the moment and the tasks at hand. I was asked if I have faith, which I do, and at times, I realize that faith is not just a belief and that faith alone is not enough. Faith is also an action.
Faith to me is not the absence of doubt but rather in the face of doubt and with all the reasons not to believe; for some reason, I still choose to believe.
A long time ago, I was told, “Faith without works is dead.”
Of course, this comes from the Bible, The Book of James 2:22, in fact. But for those who choose not to believe, for the atheists and agnostics; or for those who find themselves at an impasse between faith and doubt or for those who find their struggle with any belief system, I will leave out my choice of Higher Power and stick with the subject at hand.
What is it to believe in something?
What does it mean to have faith; and I mean faith in one’s self or faith in one’s action?
As a homeowner and family man, I wake up early and head to work on a daily basis. Each day, I arrive at my job site and each day, I prove my time by placing my hand in a scanner to show what time I come in and what time I leave.I do this because I am paid once a week. I do this because this is a mutually beneficial process. I provide a needed service. Put simply, I fix things and my company pays me.
There are times however, when I find myself at work and the hours are long. There are times when I think to myself that I have done more than my share and there are times when I wonder (in the end) if I will be compensated.
And sometimes I believe I am forgotten. Sometimes, I wonder if I am forsaken. I find myself frustrated because the nature of business is a frustrating process. I also find that when I give in to these ideas, my work suffers and I suffer. The days grow longer and my work seems harder. When I start to pick apart the process of what I do and when I start to think about all the things that might not and will not work, I find myself thinking in a “Why bother?” mindset, which bleeds outwardly into other aspects of my life.
I find myself angry. I start to question everything, which is not to say that it is wrong to question; however, when I say I question everything, I mean I start to question my efforts. I question whether I am appreciated. I question whether anything I do has value —or do I have any value? I forget about my pride of ownership. I forget about the dignity behind my graft. When I give in to doubt,I become resentful and irritable.
I start to pick apart my co-workers. I pick apart my bosses and judge their intentions.Worst of all, I lose focus and this can be dangerous because this is how people are hurt on a job site. I work with machines. I work with electricity and steam stations. If I am not careful, the accidents can be tragic, which is why I need to focus on my tasks at hand. However, it’s hard to focus when doubt comes along to taint the mindset.
I have been working on evolving in a new direction. I have been nurturing a dream of mine for more than a year now. And often, I find that disappointments are part of my path. And when a door closes or a disappointment occurs, someone will come along and tell me, “Keep the faith, kid.” And sometimes the words sting like knives through my spirit because I see them as a reminder of a recent letdown. Sure, this hurts and if I allow this to fester, I see this can be weed-like and constricting, which is why I choose to keep going. Otherwise, I will be fine to fail and comfortable to remain
I have faith—
But faith is a formula, which consists of different ingredients. Faith without works is dead, which means what does it mean to believe if I do nothing about them?
If I am to succeed, it will be because I endured and continued and suffered and struggled,and with all the doubts and reasons to give in; if I am to succeed it will be because in response to all of the above, I kept on moving, kept on going, and I continued to put in the work.
But getting back to the question of me and my belief; the answer is yes, I do believe. Yes, I do have faith in a power greater than myself. Yes, I choose to have faith because I have seen what happens when I live angry and faithless. I question and doubt everything. I become resentful and hateful. But more accurately, when I am faithless and expect everything to fail, I am not at my best, I find that I lose focus and this is how accidents happen.
I see my faith as a mutually beneficial concept. I see my faith the same as me punching in at the time-clock at work. I work and perform to the best of my ability and in return, I am paid for my efforts.
I don’t want to give in to my distractions. I don’t want to give into my doubt or find myself in a “Why bother?” mindset. Most of all I don’t want to find myself stuck in the ideas that leave me questioning my value.
I have things I want to achieve but I will not achieve these things on faith alone. No, these things will take work. In the end, I have faith that my efforts will not go unpaid.
As I see it, I have to have faith because without faith, why bother?
If I don’t believe, why would I even try?
As I see it, doubt is the antithesis of faith, in which case, my doubt is my weakness. In the end, I have faith that my efforts will not go unrewarded. I believe my faith pays me more; and I say more because when my faith is strong, —then I feel strong. And when I’m strongest, this is when I can accomplish anything.