“So far as I can see, all the great leaders—and the great exemplars of religion—possessed faith in life’s essence, in its hidden meaning, in its moral claim, and in the rightness of its inner spiritual guidance. And by this the great ones lived their lives. So must we. There are no problems greater than our power to solve them. There are no burdens greater than our strength. We shape—by every moment of our lives—the great decisions. Then let us venture still…with reason as a lamp to guide us, but lighted with the light of faith.” – A. Powell Davies
When we were raising our kids, I tried to hang with Christianity, taking my (nonbeliever) mother’s advice to give them the “benefit of a Christian education.” I hadn’t been a believer since I was 10 and Burke was fairly neutral, but, nevertheless, we became active members of Campbell Church. For us, as for my mother, it was more about familial community, service, and cultural significance than actually believing the tenets of the Christian faith. Being who I am, I was never hesitant to express my doubts and gratefully felt supported by the church community who listened.
One of the many tenets I struggled with was the idea of faith. I remember asking the pastor in an adult Sunday School class what “faith” was, saying I didn’t feel like I had it or that I even knew what it meant. He and others in the room looked at me. I read their eyes: “Duh, faith is faith. It’s trust in the Lord. It’s…” Those, of course, weren’t their answers—I actually don’t remember them—but I do remember their confounded faces and that none of the answers did anything to satisfy my questions.
I’ve never been a fan of prescriptive spirituality of any kind, including yoga, (I don’t like being told what to do), and ingest ideas I resonate with based on silent reflection, what I read and write, whom I talk to and what I practice. Over the years I’ve formulated my own definitions of faith, and where I’ve currently landed is that faith is attitude, it’s Joseph Campbell, MJ, yoga, positive psychology, the above quote from Davies... It’s what we make of our struggles or how we stay ahead of them.
It’s the great decisions we make every day—lighted with the light of faith.