We were lucky enough to spend the last school holidays in Portugal. Our hotel was very close to a beautiful beach with huge rolling waves which seemed to have a magnetic attraction for my husband and daughters.
My husband carried small daughter further out into the water and let the waves carry them back to shore, both shrieking with delight as the waves swept them off their feet, small daughter’s arms wrapped tightly around my husband’s neck for extra security.
It occurred to me that that is exactly what faith is about. Small daughter trusted my husband completely, knowing that he would not let her go until she could stand safely by herself. If she needed him, she reached out and he was there.
It doesn’t matter what your religion is, faith is about believing that someone (or something) bigger than you is there to reach out to whenever you need it. It holds you up and carries you along, much like the waves, and although you might feel that you’ve let go and can manage on your own, it’s always there again when you feel that you need some extra support. The real test of faith is still being able to believe when you can’t see what is there to help you.
For children, the question of faith is a simple one. Father Christmas brings presents, the Easter Bunny brings chocolate eggs and the Tooth Fairy brings money in exchange for baby teeth. They have no problem with belief. For most children, life stretches out before them like an endless sunny day and without even thinking about it, they trust their parents and other adults to keep the sun shining for them.
It’s only when we get older that keeping the faith gets harder. We have realised that life is not one long burst of sunshine. We’ve experienced setbacks and disappointments and seen family members and friends come and go through circumstances that we can’t control. Having a faith through all of this is a gift.
Some people are able to ride their lives like a bird rides the air currents. They take what comes and know that everything happens for the best. Their faith pulls them through any obstacles as they always know that someone (or something) bigger than them is looking out for them. Others hit life head on, trusting no one, refusing to ask for help and wondering why they have more than their fair share of knocks.
It’s not easy to lift your feet up and let yourself ride with the waves or the air currents. Our nature is to want to keep control of what we can see around us. I believe, though, that if we just have enough faith to let go then that big something will always be there to catch us and make life flow around us in a way that benefits everybody. It’s time to let go.