Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Consider the obvious. Life is showing you a way and you look at the way like a deer in headlights. What? You say. I thought I was supposed to go that way.
Okay, so you feel blinded by the obvious. You didn’t see it coming. And you also don’t get the urgency. That is, the urgency to trust that maybe life does know what it is doing with regards to you.
Faith can mean so many things, but no doubt it is also the most important thing. It is a new path when you insist the old one is the better one. It is the friend who speaks when you would rather hear your own words.
Despite our best efforts, we are not always guaranteed the perfect result. We can eat well and take our vitamins and still be faced with cancer. We can accumulate the right education and still not land the job. We can love someone and still earn their indifference.
Faith is taking the first step, and sometimes another, and yet another, even when our legs shake with doubt. Without faith, we are truly dead. We retreat to a place of doubt and panic and fear that says we are less than the possibility of our deepest hope. It is in that dark place that we are sometimes blessed with faith, a light so small yet which becomes so infinitely large as we follow it, reminding us that what we hold dear has the strength to help us see the life we always wanted, the one better than what we hoped.
In a garden, we can plant a seed with all the right accoutrements and still find less than stellar results. In the garden, seeds can take days to nurture and sometimes months. This is true with most things in life. At some point we have to believe in the magic of the idea and its ability to unfurl. Never give up. That is the promise of faith.
My dear friend and niece, Alexandrea, is exceptional. I am biased, I know, but she represents the promise of the future I want to see happen beyond me. Her youth, her vitality, her confidence, speak to a legacy her father, her uncle, and yes, her aunt — me — want to impart. We don’t want to see her fall, but we do. We hope it’s a short fall. We don’t want to see her sad, but we do. We hope it’s a sadness that lasts ever so briefly. So, what to do? Love her, perhaps. Infinitely so. Remind her, no doubt, that the disappointments are far outweighed by the accomplishments. Tell her that we are with her all the way and to never give up.
The best thing I can give about my life is what I give to my marriage, my family, my job, and my garden. In between are the not so perfect occurrences of humanity. Oh, so messy it becomes. Except in the divine experiences made possible by good people, like my niece, who teach me about the future that involve tenacity and the willingness to go the distance.
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