faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a deity or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It may also be belief that is not based on proof.
It is a just a word right? Letters put together to form some sort of meaning? Often used during hardships, when no one, not friends or family, no medical practice or scientific studies, no midnight Google searches nor shared experiences can provide an answer to. When there is no one left to ask, where do we turn? For years I've been told to "have faith, things will work out, don't give up, you will get through this." And though it gets old to hear, I have told myself this everyday, because there is just no other choice. But until recently, I'm not sure I really and deeply thought about this word, these letters, the meaning of faith. Today I have formed my own simple definition: to believe.
"If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?"
-Yann Martel, Life of Pi
As my strength quickly builds, there is a sense of feeling alive again, of being a part of the real world outside of the bleak hospital, out from under the dark covers of the bed and off the all too comforting couch. Stepping into a cafe with aromas of fresh brewed espresso and herbal peppermint tea, strolling downtown with a happy dog and fresh, cool breeze whisping under my nose, bundled in a wool knit hat and scarf. An outing with a purpose other than the doctors's office or hospital. Though it has only been a few months since the GP flare began, it feels like a lifetime of pain, confusion and wrong decisions. When we hit rock bottom and our once strong bodies become strangers to us, it's easy to quickly feel isolated, even when surrounded by so much love and support.
I must continue to believe, even when hard to believe, especially when it's hard to believe, that I will get through this. Otherwise, what's left? I believe our lives have meaning and no matter how much pain or hardship we might face, there is still meaning, maybe even more of a purpose, to teach and inspire others that don't have faith or can't see the light.
My weight has again gone up, now at 97 lbs! After meeting with my doctor and talking with the dietian at ThriveRx, the plan is to continue TPN for the next month and re-evaluate at that time. My head spins with "what if's" and "then whats," but right now I just can't go there. I have to let go of how I want things to be, how I imagined them and find my own personal meaning of faith. There is no way to define it other than what provides me with the comfort to not be fearful and just keep moving forward, one day at a time.
I'll end with a quote I heard in the inspiring movie today, Life of Pi. Lying on the couch with my hubby this evening, a warm cup of tea and heating pad keeping me cozy, the words were repeating themselves in my head. I finally got up and began my Google search for the quote so I could share.
"I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always...so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to sine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you."
So, as my journey continues and I share this experience, my advice for today and everyday, don't let fear defeat you. Just as Pi faces the tiger, acknowledge that fear and find a way to replace it with faith, however you may choose to define it.