During my short-lived career in real estate, I trained with two women whose names were Faith and Hope. I, logically, called myself Charity, because that's what I needed when it came to selling real estate. I did not get it. Nor did I get selling real estate. Anyroad...
That slightly amusing but totally irrelevant rambling is my obtuse way of leading into today's discussion of faith. Faith is a tricky thing. And more difficult (at least for me) then you would think.
If you are one who has faith in the guy with the long white beard or the guy with the shorter brown beard or the guy I can't describe because they can't post pictures of him, then faith is probably a no-brainer for you. Wait, that sounds like I'm saying you have no brains, which I'm not at all. I will never diss anyone's beliefs, that is totally uncool. I'm just saying that it has been my observation that people who have a strong religious belief tend to accept faith as a matter of course. But I have been struggling with faith for years, and I think it's because I was looking at it from the wrong angle.
I got off on the wrong faithfoot when I started going to Sunday School. At six years old, I was told by Sister Mary Elizabeth that if I sassed my mother in the morning, when I got home from school they'd be carrying her out on a stretcher. I was supposed to have faith in a diety that exacts that kind of retribution on a six-year-old for simply being a six-year-old. It didn't make sense to me, but I was told to accept it, so I did. The upshot being I had faith in God, but not myself.
Added to this liturgy of punishment-based theology, was the constant "Why can't you be more like your sister?" litany I got from my mother. While said sister assured me she wished I had never been born and tried to kill me when I was a baby by stuffing a rattle down my throat. I found it hard to be zippity-do-dah about myself. I just felt sad and confused, and didn't understand what I had done to piss everybody off so much.
The answer, of course, is nothing. They were all being fuckwads. It took me a loooonnggg time to accept that fact without feeling guilty about accepting that fact. Again, tip o' the habit to Sister Mary Elizabeth and her crew for that.
The Ultimate Truth is, if I don't have faith in myself, I can't have faith in anyone or anything else, omnipotent or just plain ol' potent. I suppose that church and family figured I arrived here with a self-faith package installed, but, unfortunately, I missed out on that software. So my tiny kid soul sponge just soaked up all the fire and brimstone without the self-love asbestos pillow underneath to put it in perspective.
I hate that it took me so long to figure this out, but I thank the Universe I figured it out while I still have some time left to enjoy it. So, damn the religion, full life ahead!