When you’re a child, you often take things at face value. Things like love and family and dreams. Love is what you feel for your parents, family are the ones who raised you, and dreams are the colorful images you see when you go to sleep. When you’re a child, things are simple. Another one of those simple things you probably experienced was belief. Believing in Santa, God, and the person you wanted to be when you grew up. Believing was simple back then.
But as the candy-coated veil is lifted, you see all the complexities of life that you missed when you were young and distracted by the sweetness and pretty things people told you, which you gobbled up without question.
The words “just believe” don’t hold the same weight as they used to when you were younger. They don’t hold the same magic that made them true just by letting them roll off your tongue or thinking them into existence. And when people tell you as an adult to “just believe” and things will get better, it feels like they are expecting a simple response, a childlike response. They want to hear a “yes,” that you will comply and instantly believe and subsequently your life will improve. Sometimes people expect simplicity because they don’t want to dig deeper and find out all the messy complications that we often hold inside.
Because the truth is that to keep on believing when you’re in the middle of what seems like an endless battle is one of the hardest things to do — and it’s nowhere near simple nor pretty.
Everyone has their days when they try to picture their future with all their goals accomplished but get painfully stuck in the quicksand of the present — feeling like the emotions, the thoughts, the time, place, and people that are or aren’t here now are what will be forever. And in times like these, when you experience such loss of hope because you’re trapped in tunnel vision, sometimes the easiest option is to go with the negative thoughts. Because maybe believing has let you down in the past. Maybe you were always known as the one who saw the world through rose-colored glasses, the positive one, the personal cheerleader, the one to unwaveringly trust that better things were on the horizon.
But maybe one day something changed. Somewhere along the way, things happened to you. Moments and events that completely altered your view of the world and muddied the things you once thought were clear and easy.
Maybe you experienced your first genuine period of brokenness over someone you gave your heart to. Maybe the person you saw standing next to you in your future suddenly and furiously became your past.
Maybe your mom got a call with another diagnosis instead of the all-clear you were waiting for. When the possibility of recovery was suddenly replaced by the probability of more suffering.
Maybe your vision of the life you thought you’d have by now is so far from reach that you don’t know if you’ll ever truly be able to grasp it.
Maybe you feel that, somehow, with every step you take, you’re moving further away from what you truly want, instead of closer.
Maybe you feel the people you love slipping away as the years tick by, leaving you with memories of what once was and teary dreams of what may never come.
Maybe you struggle to picture the hand that will be holding yours on your last day because you’re afraid you’ll never find the person it belongs to.
But maybe a part of you still thought differently. Maybe a part of you still thinks differently.
Belief can be a twinge of hope, the one that hides in the crevices of your soul. The tiny plant that still tries to grow through the cracks, no matter how deep they might be.
Belief can be that little flicker of light in the dark — the maybes, the what ifs. It’s the doubting and questioning of the negative thoughts you’ve resigned yourself to; it’s the potential that you could be wrong about what you think is true, and you could be surprised by something wonderful instead.
Belief can be the thought that creeps into your mind that maybe what is currently your present won’t be your future; that maybe the suffering you see in the people around you is only temporary and relief is on the horizon; that maybe the ghost of the person who broke your heart will soon disappear and be replaced with something much better than what you lost; that maybe the vision of your life you pictured as a child is still possible, still right around the corner.
Belief can be the stirring inside your heart, a whisper to your spirit, that pushes you to search for something greater, despite being broken and straying from the wholehearted faith you once held as a child. It’s the comfort that comes with hoping in what you can’t see but only feel in moments of solitude, in the sea breeze that lets you know God is nearby, watching out for you and planning a greater life for you than you’ve ever imagined.
Believing is anything but easy and beautiful. It’s messy and filled with mistakes, questions, missteps, doubts, and moments of complete sadness. Maybe you’re not a perfect believer. In fact, you’re probably not a perfect believer. But the thing to remember is that a part of you does believe. Truly believes. Even though that part may be as tiny as a speck of dust, the strength of that one speck is immeasurable.
Sometimes I wish I still had the pure, unadulterated belief I once did as a child. But then I remember it’s natural to falter, to struggle, to have your dreams dashed from moments that shake you. These moments happen to you to help you grow, to show you everything that life is and everything it could be. These moments are meant to drag you to the bottom of a well, only to force you to muster the thing you once thought you had lost completely: the tiny seed of belief, the quiet strength you need to pull yourself up and continue to walk towards light, towards love, towards faith — because that’s what you deserve.