The Huddle #61: Have a Little Faith
Like many folks, the coming and passing of the Fourth of July this week had me thinking about the future of our country. I like to think of myself as a hopeful person, but I’ve been having a hard time getting clear on what my hope actually looks like. The act of hope is a slippery one- here one moment, and through my fingers the next. What I find most troubling is that even when I'm able to paint a euphoric picture in my mind, I quickly get caught up in all of the things getting in the way of that. Do you ever find yourself training your mind to “think positively,” only to then get a reaction from your inner voice that goes looking for all the potential obstacles, saying things like, “Yeah, but what about…?” There are only so many “Yeah but’s” my mind can take before my hope gets quashed, and I’m back to reality.
Hope is a beautiful thing, but it’s not everything. Looking at the etymology of the word hope, it means to “Wish, with expectation.” Just looking at the “hop” within hope, we can see that by hoping, we’re taking a leap and expecting the earth to be there to catch us when we land. As a collective, hope is the light at the end of the tunnel. But to make our way through the tunnel- through the darkness, the dirt, the uncomfy bits- we’re got to have faith.
I know I talk about faith often. I’m a big fan. When I find myself looking for a guarantee, or expecting a situation that’s out of my control to turn out a certain way, I come back to faith. And I don’t mean spiritual faith, necessarily. I’m not very concerned about where you store your faith, because, like most things, it’s the intention behind it that’s important. You see, hope is wishing for something, and faith is believing in someone/thing. Once we begin pouring faith into something, whether it’s a divine figure, a friend, a lover, a relationship, or our own intuition, the faith starts to grow there. It grows and grows and, eventually, it spreads into everything. Before we know it, we have faith in the coworker, the gas station attendant, the tomato plants, the M95 mask.
There’s so much out of our control right now, and I think for me, that’s what got me feeling a little stuck on the Fourth of July. Do I hope for a better future? Absolutely. But beyond that, I have faith in my ability to keep growing. Instead of entering a hard conversation and hoping it turns out in my favor, or that we can resolve things peacefully, I’m working on having faith in how I show up to it. In thinking about what this next week, month, or year will look like, I have faith in how my family looks out for each other, in my students' flexibility and patience, and in my grocery store's safety protocols. Instead of hoping the district opens schools, I’m finding ways to practice faith in my ability to problem solve and teach my darn best. You get it.
And as for our future as a collective, I have faith in our alertness. Sure, in my heart, I hope for peace and love and all of the pretty, flowery things. That’s not what gets me out of bed in the morning. What gets me up and moving is not a wish or an expectation for the world to stop going crazy. Instead, the fire in my belly is kindled by two beliefs- the belief that we are doing our best, and the belief that we can (we will) do better. In my gut, all the way into the core of my existence, I have faith in you.