caught a thread of two friends exchanging philosophy on love and faith over the weekend. one an athiest, the other a feeling poet. it got me thinking about these two intangible parts of my life, love and faith.

i never really think about faith, although i do have it somewhere tucked inside. faith in what, i’m not exactly sure. sometimes i have faith in humanity, other times it seems lost. i have faith in my self. i have faith in my friends  and family. i have faith things will work out the way they’re supposed to. i think faith is more important than a belief. beliefs change. when they become fixed, they become rigid, thus creating rigidity in the person who holds them. beliefs create attachment.

if by definition faith is a complete trust or if it is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, then the only thing for which i can have faith is the order of the universe and my self. although hasn’t order in the universe been proven by human observation for thousands of years? we see spirals and seasons, the sun rises and sets everyday. that’s order. but do i need faith for that? the sun will rise even if i don’t.

there’s another definition of faith as in one’s sincerity of intentions, keeping one’s promises. i think i could be described as faithful by that definition. loyalty is another definition that suits me.

i think of it more as trust. trusting the process. trust doesn’t have to be firm. it shifts and bends. maybe strong could replace firm. if faith were defined as a strong flexible belief, i could jump on board.

it seems if love is infinite with varying degrees constantly changing like everything else, why wouldn’t faith be the same way? it can grow and diminish. loving unconditionally is not the same as loving blindly. the word trust seems more open. maybe unconditional trust is faith?

i was in search of a quote last night when i came across this one by eric fromm, german philosopher.

“To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern – and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values.”

I’ve learned that courage is movement in the presence of fear. i’ve been called courageous even when i didn’t feel courageous. i do think faith and love take courage. trust takes courage. vulnerability is required. at times uncomfortable or uncertain. it tests and challenges. or is it that it is tested and challenged? maybe both.

just because someone says “i love you” doesn’t mean i feel loved, whether that person is speaking the truth or not. i can have more faith and confidence in the way someone feels about me by the way they interact with me.

a boyfriend once gave me the example of a mechanic and his wife. for valentine’s day, the mechanic took the wife’s car and tuned it up, changed the oil, vacuumed it out. he showed his love for his wife by maintaining her car. she wanted flowers and chocolate. to her it may have seemed that he was showing love for the car instead of her. but to him, he showed his love for her by using his skills to fix something she uses. not what i would want either, but that was how he expressed love. and maybe that would be nice too, but not for valentine’s day! valentine’s day is a stupid holiday, i wouldn’t want chocolate. flowers are nice, but flowers are nice any time. the point is: needs for giving and receiving love vary from person to person. how do you find someone who matches?

i do think it’s important to let people know how you feel, but if your words and actions don’t match, what meaning does it have?

love really is an act of faith or trust. we can love all day long, but people don’t always love us back. or maybe they love us back, but their capacity for love doesn’t match ours. or maybe one loves unconditionally and the other isn’t there yet. tomorrow i could wake up to find the person i love doesn’t love me anymore. or that he loves me, but the timing is off. or maybe i love him, but we’re not in the same place emotionally. or maybe we have different goals. the most wonderful thing about there being only one of us here is that there is enough love to go around, it just takes different forms.

i once asked my teacher how he and his wife stayed married so long.  30 years or so. (many people in their circle have married and divorced several times.) his response was endearing. “because i love her.” possibly one of the sweetest things i’ve heard. ever. about love and relationships. i have no idea what kind of challenges they’ve faced, and i suppose i don’t want to. not now. maybe someday.

right now i’ll just focus on loving myself.


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