I looked up the definitions for HOPE and FAITH today.
The first definition that came up for HOPE was: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
The first example it gave was: to give up hope.
Funny, because that is what I’m writing about today.
You see, I’ve given up hope.
I’ve given up hope that our nation will be fine.
I’ve given up hope that our citizens will be okay.
I’ve given up hope that the people in charge will do the right thing.
I no longer have hope because so much of hope is based on what other people do.
I prefer not to go there.
Don’t worry–I’m not giving up hope so I can bury myself in the sand and forget about life.
No, I prefer to focus on what I can do.
Me. One person. One miniscule dot in the universe.
I’m not burying myself in the sand because I do not expect anyone to shovel me out.
That’s my job.
And my shovel’s name is FAITH.
You’re probably wondering, what’s the difference between hope and faith?
Well, let’s go to the dictionary.
According to the first definition that I looked up, FAITH is: allegiance to duty or a person; loyalty; fidelity to one’s promises; sincerity of intentions.
You see, it’s very different from hope.
Do I believe in allegiance to duty? And loyalty? And fidelity to one’s promises? And sincerity of intentions?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And YES.
I have faith.
I have faith that I am always doing my best, whether on horrible, terrible days, and on delightful, beautiful days.
I have faith in the universe, and in all that I can see and hear, and all that I cannot see and hear.
I have allegiance to myself, loyalty to those I love and respect, fidelity to my promises, and sincerity of intentions.
I have faith.
And it’s not because I believe in God. Because I do. But, I don’t equate faith with my belief in God.
I don’t label God. I don’t purport to articulate or understand what God is doing to us or not doing to us, or if God wants me to do this or does not want me to do that. Faith, for me, is not about God.
There are a lot of things that I don’t know, but what I do know is that someday, my time on this earth will come to an end. No one can argue against that–not even people who believe they have a direct phone line to God. But until that fateful day comes, I will read, write, think, dream, ponder, act, love, and live.
I will do my best, even when my best is just getting out of bed.
I will do my best to help other living beings.
I will do my best to help myself.
I will keep going.
I will keep going, and perhaps someday, hope will return to me.
But I’ve realized something important.
It’s okay if hope doesn’t return.
Because I still have faith.
And that is enough.
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel centered on the question, can enemies become friends? She is currently writing another novel that is a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale set in 1980s Seattle. Peg also believes in equality for all people and continues to fight the good fight.
Art by Sveta Dorosheva.