Monday, January 10, 2011


Francisco X. Stork has written that "Faith is this two-chambered heart of giving up and going on."

He's right. When I read those words (check out his piece here), I had one of those moments where you sit back in your chair, maybe touch your forehead, exhale, and say, Yup, that's it, man. That's what it's all about. That's the deal, right there.


Faith involves giving up because faith trusts. Believing in something also means that we're able to say, with honesty, "I'm not in total control. It's not all up to me, and it's not about me." That's a tough thing to say. It's tough to admit that we can't always manipulate experiences and people to work together to produce the results we'd prefer.

I learn this lesson anew almost every single day.

When Tyler doesn't want me to change his diaper, or put away a toy, or leave the library (which we never would, if it didn't close...), he listens to what I tell him to do, then gives me a pretty good eye-contact stare-down for a two-year old and replies, "How about..."

What comes after his "how about" is always the exact opposite of what my "how about" was originally all about.

And I see the truth: I can't always get Tyler to think he really wants to do what I want him to do.

Grown-up people with hair on their faces and legs and other various parts are like this, too. We can't always get them to do what we want. So that's where faith comes in. We've got to let them go. Love them, care for them, but we can't control who they are and who they want to be.

But we always give up our dreams when it comes to faith. If we never release our dreams--those visions of who we could be, what great things we could accomplish--they become stagnant and selfish and prideful. When we release our dreams, we often find that they return to us, then whack us upside the head and say, Alright now, while I've been away getting free, what have YOU been up to? Not just sitting there watching television, I hope...or else we are going to have some major words.

When God calls us to something, it's seldom about results. More often, He's calling us to journey somewhere--whether to some new physical place, or some new place inside our hearts. He's calling us to take a journey that involves risks, uncertainty, and a whole lot of hope.

So when we let go of our idea that we control others, and when we loosen our grip on the dreams and visions we imagine ourselves the protagonists of, we actually find the faith that allows us to carry on.

It's in walking that we find the strength of our feet, after all, not in visualizing the journey. Believing can live when it moves.

It's probably fitting that I close this little ramble with a link to Mary Oliver's powerful poem, "The Journey." her words fit well with Stork's in that they both suggest a way of moving through life that allows us to keep faith and use our voices--not to overpower others, but to find out who we really are. I leave you in the capable hands of the great poet herself: Mary Oliver's "The Journey."