"Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase."
― Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Faith. For those of us who consider ourselves educated and of the intellectual variety, the idea of having faith, particularly in a higher, supernatural being, may seem counterintuitive. The idea that human beings should place their hope in a being that they cannot perceive, touch or access using the five senses may seem illogical and ludicrous for some. Yet here I am, a person who considers herself not unintelligent, choosing to believe and hold on to my faith.
My faith has shepherded me through some of the most trying experiences of my life, and it continues to do so. And to be clear, I didn’t just limp across the finish line, gutted and half-dead at the culmination of these trials; I have been able to thrive, grow and soar as I navigated, and continue to navigate, life’s various hurdles. And I have observed the same in others who have chosen to access their faith.
When difficulties present themselves in our lives, it is human nature to question why we are being faced with a particular problem. A litany of questions may run through our heads. Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Will there ever be a way out of this? Why can’t this experience just be over already? What if this experience breaks me?
We humans like our comfort. We like our status quo. We enjoy pleasure. So when we are faced with an experience that is uncomfortable, novel or painful, we want out. We want to avoid it at all costs and often our first response is to search for a way around it.
I can acknowledge that up until the past several years, I spent the majority of my life expectantly waiting for the dissipation of certain challenges and issues. I had conditioned myself to believe that once I achieved a certain status or hit certain benchmarks, the overwhelming majority of challenges would cease to exist. That oppression, discrimination, isolation and disparate treatment would become things of the past. That, somehow, through my ascension, I would be able to avoid conflict, maintain emotional equilibrium at all times, and move through life nonplussed. As I’m sure you have surmised, as I've been entrusted with more responsibility and opportunities, various challenges have not gone away. In fact, in many ways they have proportionately grown. However, the ongoing presence of these challenges notwithstanding, I am so grateful that I can remain in a place of peace and gratitude; and that is wholly due to my faith.
Even though I do not know how each trial will resolve, I choose to believe that I will not only survive life’s challenges, but that I will thrive through them. I choose to believe I will come through each difficulty better, stronger and more equipped to face future obstacles. I choose to believe that the hurdles are more substantial because my ability to navigate them is better developed.
I choose to have faith. And no matter your position on the issue of faith, if you are struggling with life’s challenges and difficulties, and you feel that you can barely keep your head above water, I encourage you to try faith. Even the scientific community has had to acknowledge the positive impact faith has not only on mental health, but on prognosis and recovery after serious illness, trauma and surgery. Moreover, a correlation even exists between faith and healing from terminal illness. Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.
If you desperately need tomorrow to be a brighter day, I encourage you to try faith.