The weather often sets our mood for the course of any day. Some days are sunnier, or rainier, or windier than others. We don’t particularly find this strange, but were aware of how the conditions of that day, or week, or season, can either give us much anticipation to bask in the goodness of the sunshine, or cause us to have the bedtime blues on a rainy day. In much the same way as the weather can change, so can our ability to sustain – or lack – much needed faith in our lives.
In a commentary of 2009, I talked about the need for having faith, cultivating it and exercising it. Many of us lose faith daily – in ourselves, our abilities, our aspirations, and in the goodness of life. We proudly wear a shield of dignity on the outside, while continuing to expand discontent and doubtfulness on the inside. And on the inside, is where it counts the most. How we feel at our core center, view our intelligence, and believe in our own abilities, all depend on the level of faith we retain and the degree to which we employ it.
Cultivating faith begins in the mind and is referenced to be a belief in things “unseen”. I don’t necessarily believe that faith is blind; rather, a force we can see and use to shelter us from the extreme cascades and unpredicted rainstorms of life. And we need only an atom of faith to endure. The parable of the mustard seed in the bible teaches us of the amount of faith we need only to secure our position and rise above. Considering, that’s a very small amount for such immense challenges we encounter in this life. And Jesus said that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. I do not believe that He meant that statement as a metaphor, and its sentiment apply to anyone, anywhere at any time, regardless of religious preference or measure of spirituality.
The etymology of birth names is very significant to our journeys as well. Everyone has a name, but most people are unacquainted with the correlation between their name and the ambition it is to serve. Few give it any thought at all. When I gave birth to both of my children, I was determined to provide them with a name that would define their very existence and shape their destiny. I obligated it to be their “identification”; a deliberate act – with a consequential objective in mind. In many religions and cultures, there is enormous importance placed on the giving of names at birth. They believe this to represent the soul of a person, and hence can influence ones’ entire life.
“Imani” was personally given to my daughter Nia, as a middle name. Imani is the seventh principle of Kwanzaa, and also means Faith. The origin of the name “Faith” is English and means to have confidence and belief. “Faith” is majestic in the light it expresses and the association it advocates. I am frequently reminded of this truth by the insightful lyrics of Faith Renee Evans, American singer-songwriter, record producer, actress and now author. Faith Evans truly holds it down – from the release of her latest, sixth studio album, Something About Faith, to her first and recently released memoir, Keep the Faith. She is a vocal and eloquent contributor of her generation, sharing her stories of rising above triumph and trauma with faith and resolve, which is what makes Faith Evans personify her given name. Just like the assessment of how our naming conventions teach us who we are, similar does the essence of a single mustard seed.
Like Faith Evans, if we didn’t have our weaknesses, we would never discover our strengths. If we could resist temptation, our lives would be perpetually safe and dull. We would never become the architects of our own undoing; nor would we learn to appreciate the satisfaction of our own reconstruction. Small mindedness is not the worst thing in the world. Small mindedness in faith – is the worst thing in the world. There IS something about faith; seeking it, believing it, knowing that it exists. What is it you ask? It’s “rock steady” as Aretha Franklin would impressively sing it! It’s what helps us take those necessary leaps and bounds that stretch us, strengthen us, support us, and save us.
Love for your Tuesday. Keep the faith.