What does it take to believe? What aspects of a person’s life create the elements of trust or assurance in something they perceive as significant? Whether it’s a religion, or a scientific theory, or even something as simple as relying on your favorite team to win the big game, everyone believes in something. What people believe in is what defines their character; it’s the essence of who they are. People put every ounce of their being into their beliefs, and that’s what creates the unique and one-of-a-kind nature within each individual. So naturally, I have my own beliefs; beliefs, however, that were very different from what they once were.
Since I was in diapers, I’ve been raised in a Christian home, and taught to live a Christian life; attending church regularly, saying grace before meals, and other general activities that come to mind when thinking of the stereotypical ‘Church Family.’ I never really took any of it too seriously, I was young, and had many other things on my mind. I had never lived a life outside of the world I was currently in, and saw it as something I was born into rather than a personal decision. A particular event came up in my life that was about to change all I ever thought, and all I ever believed.
For the first time in my life of modest years, I experienced loss. It was so unexpected, and unpredictable that it became more than physical loss, it was a loss of hope, purpose, individual significance; I didn’t feel much for a long time, in fact I believe I felt nothing, because I believed in nothing. That single event completely severed any ties I had with the foundations of my youth. I became angry with God, and refused to believe in His existence, all faith I once possessed was dead.
For two years I lived that way, constantly searching for another answer. As time passed, I became more and more discouraged. I would become interested in something for a while, and then would later find myself shaking and re-shaking the etch-a-sketch of my life after finding something that just didn’t seem to connect quite right. Eventually, ideas from my past slowly began to reenter my thoughts. I didn’t like it at first because it felt good being angry, but I felt a change of course, and sure enough, I rode the current, and I haven’t let go.
As I look back, it’s difficult to explain what happened, all I know is that after fishing around, and letting different thoughts soak in, for the first time I’d reached a point where I actually believed in what I believed. When you look at the beliefs of each individual, whatever they may be, what every belief comes down to, is faith. What does it take to believe? It takes a set of ideals a person finds significant, and the faith in those ideals to create the individuality of each person. I now believe in the ideals I was taught as a child, but rather that simply accepting them, I actually believe in them. What is it I believe? I believe in faith.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.