Faith. How do you build faith? That question is being asked by me over and over again.
When I was young, we celebrated the Catholic holidays, mainly Easter and Christmas, to honor my father’s religion. We also celebrated Passover and Hanukah, along with Yom Kippur, to honor my mother’s religion. We didn’t celebrate faith. My upbringing focused on family, education, playing and enjoying sports and most definitely working hard. And we all have had a great work ethic, went to college and have been successful in our careers. We don’t really practice faith.
Faith, where you believe and pray on what your intention and know that He (or She) will guide you and ensure you are safe, and get to where you are supposed to go. That is my definition, I know everyone has their own. But having faith in someone else, even God or the Universe, hasn’t come easy to me. In fact it is increasingly becoming the place I need to spend time.
In order for me to get to where I want to be, I know I need to build a belief that is unshakeable. But I keep coming back to how.
Back in 1986, I worked for Macy’s as a training manager. The training managers of many of the stores became close friends as we worked together to open new Macy’s around the country. One of the people I became close to was a much older (probably 10 years younger than I am today, all relative!) African American woman who lived in the city of Newark. She was one of the best training managers in our system and took many of us under her wing. We all loved her.
She was abruptly killed in a car accident when an Elizabeth police car hit her during a high speed chase that crossed city lines. Shocked and sad, we all attended her funeral. The Baptist church was tremendous and filled to standing room only. I remember noticing woman in Nurse’s uniforms quickly and quietly walking around the church helping worshippers who were fainting, or on the verge of fainting. All around me, people were singing and talking about her traveling home. There were tears and yelling Amen, people passing out and people singing joyously. I was so confused.
I had never been exposed to that level of faith before. I didn’t realize that people considered dying, going home. I hadn’t really ever thought about faith in God as where I should place my concerns, worries, or hopes and dreams. I thought all of that was controlled by me. This began my journey to understand what faith might mean.
That journey has been interrupted a lot over the years. Whatever faith I had was lost when my first marriage, to my high school sweetheart and who I thought was the love of my life, ended. I thought everything that happened then was due to me not being good enough and had nothing to do with the Universe or God steering me to something better. All I knew what that the life I envisioned had vanished. I was caught up in being a victim of my circumstances as well as angry as hell at him. That anger cost me friends, and probably cost me health. It also plummeted me into a spiral of eating to fill a void, shopping to fill a void and sex to feel loved. I was lost and faithless. I learned at that time to focus on only what I could do for myself, Suzy wasn’t going to rely on anyone.
And I didn’t, for a very long time. At times I probably still do not rely on anyone when I should, or lean on anyone, especially God.
Faith. Over the past few years, I have been building faith back into my life, a little at a time. Sometimes I feel like I have handed things over to God (or more for me probably the Universe) and I find solace in the messages and signs that I see and find. I have many examples of signs that when I see them I just know. I know it is a sign, I feel that energetically. Some people in my life think it is hogwash and I just kid myself. I am ok with that, everyone needs to believe in something, and not everyone is going to agree with what I believe in. But I do know that building a practice based on faith is not easy for me, but I am working on it daily.
Faith. Unshakeable faith. I hope to build what I witnessed that first time in a Baptist church. That is where my heart, and my head will come together. I am sure of that. For now I need to put fear on a shelf, focus on me and my heart and have faith.