Faith – Pick-up style

What is faith?

I’m not venturing into some spiritual reflection on a Wednesday. Trust me. But the question has been on my mind lately. Not the spiritual sense of faith we think about when the word is loaded with a good bit of religious sentiment – and rightfully so, I want to add. I’m thinking more of the mundane sort of faith, which I’m sure has its spiritual side. I’m thinking of the type of faith that keeps us plodding along, day after day, through an infinite number of tasks that have long since lost their joy and all our work seems to be just scattered grains of salt in the wind.

For example, I now have two readers. And to my two readers I want to say: I love you. Dearly. When I got my second today, it was cause for celebration. We had cookies – chocolate chip. I’d promise to save one for you, Second Reader, but really, we’re kinda the Zombies of chocolate chip cookies around here so I’d just be telling a lie.

However, even with my limited – but much beloved – fan base, I have been recently confronted with the sad truth that I did not go viral within weeks of starting my blog. No some up-and-coming junior editor at Simon and Schuster stumbled upon my work and decide that I, yes I, was the new voice of the new age with which the world could live without, and for which I surely deserved a brand new pimped out RV to use for my Book Tour. In Canada. Where I would meet Leonard Cohen.

Well, since that didn’t happen in the first three weeks, I was a tad bit discouraged, often forgetting that perhaps my expectations may not have been as realistic as I first believed.  Dear friends had encouraged me and supported me, but where was the fame? Where were my adoring fans and groupies? More importantly, where was my contract? Enter faith. That mundane brand I was telling you about. Not the flashy Sunday Morning kind, the waxed and polished sedan we take out for special occasions. This is the regular old, rusty and beaten up pick-up truck kind that hauls the lumber, goes through the mud, and tows stuff. And this is what I had to take out of my mental garage. The faith to keep writing regardless, and without immediate gratification. I had to believe, as delusional as I may have been, that the people who were reading my work were getting something out of it (giggles would suffice), that one day other people would find it and also enjoy it. I had to make this up in my head, because the facts to support such a conclusion aren’t there. Of course, the facts to dispute it aren’t there either, so why not believe something good, in the face of little information?  Maybe that’s the engine block of the pick-up truck – if your facts aren’t conclusive, conclude something positive. And trust me, that kind of faith isn’t my style. I knit something, I show it to someone a week later when it’s done, they say “ooh, it’s so pretty,” and I’m happy. It’s a fix. Oh, and there is the whole being done in a short time thing I really like. But knitting the Great American Scarf was never my dream (but I do like to knit, so don’t rule it out). So, I have to write without the oooh’s and ahhh’s I live for. (Bobby Brown had crack, I have praise).

So, again, why am I telling you this if not just to rattle on about myself? Well, go back over this. Fill in the blanks for yourself: college at middle-age, parenting a challenging child, being an artist is a world or family full of professionals, anything that requires the daily commitment and work and toil that gets to be really, really, incredibly hard to the point you don’t see the point until the faith kicks in. You figure, one day, I’ll get my degree even it takes me twice as long because I’m working, my child will benefit after years of love, my work of art will be done in however many months or years it takes. Then think about what I think about:

One of these days, I’ll post some real journalistic-style research on this (as soon as the Christmas knitting is done and there is no possibility of good fishing weather). Many people we admire for their success and achievements faced one of two things that stop many people in their tracks (hello, guilty as charged). Some didn’t start until middle age. Paula Dean? Mother and bank teller until her early fourties when she started her catering business. Danny Aiello? Started acting in middle age. Then there’s the whole years of failure thing. Or just one bad one. Jack Welch? Blew up a lab once when he was young. Authors? Rooms wallpapered with rejection notices. Our house? Six years in the building and we still have more to go, but yes, the downstairs is oooh and ahhh worthy.

So, when the going gets tough, pull tough, plain faith out of the garage and it will get you where you need to go. Eventually. You’ll be the first to know when I get there.