Running Up Against Faith

Running Up Against Faith September 24, 2010

I was talking with a friend the other day about the strangeness of new experiences.  I’ve noticed lately this unfamiliar sensation of newness in much of my life and, instead of running screaming in the other direction, I was explaining to him that I am beginning to recognize this strange feeling as a good thing. “I don’t know . . . I guess I am beginning to look for that vague discomfort—it lets me know I am headed in the right direction.  Do you know what I mean?”  

“Of course I know what you mean,” he said.  “In those moments you’re running right up against faith.”  It’s easy enough to function on autopilot, he explained.  But when we take a risk, try something new, go to a place that’s unfamiliar, well, that takes an act of faith.  “Isn’t that what faith is?  Believing what you can’t see?”

He was right, of course, and even though talking about this sort of thing is a big part of my professional occupation, sometimes I need to be reminded too.  The uneasiness, the unfamiliarity, the places to grow . . . when I have the courage to go there I am running right up against faith.

So, for today and all these thoughts, a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame

where everything shines as it disappears.

The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much

as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.

Is it safer to be gray and numb?

What turns hard becomes rigid

and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.

Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking

finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation

it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,

dares you to become the wind.

Sonnets to Orpheus Part 2, XII by Rainer Maria Rilke


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  • AD

    How appropriate your post was for me today. I have been thinking a lot about change lately, and the challenges you have to face with faith alone because you don’t have experience to fall back on. Thanks for sharing that wonderful poem, too.