Everyone has heard of the Biblical verse “faith without works is dead”. This verse has sort of become a cliche in the Christian community. It is said by all Christians and many non Christians.
You can’t really say you have faith in something, and just sit on your ass and expect whatever you have faith in to come to fruition.
Of course, this verse was also used to divide many believers into new religious groups. So some ilks will emphasize how important it is to do work work work, and only a bit of faith is needed. And other groups will say, just have faith—very little work is needed.
And then there is a happy medium. Or is there even such a thing? What happens though when you decide to say “works without faith is dead.” This hits home for many. This in a way calls on and embraces every religious group because it is essentially saying that we all have faith in something.
Everyone works, with a goal in mind,with a hope, with a faith that what they are working for will: feed their family, promote them, make them feel gratified, satisfy their sexual needs, heal someone psychologically, make the next car payment, pay the electric bill, write that check for that last cancer treatment….put a smile on a face.
Faith is so universal…..something you can’t see, touch or feel….just something you know in your heart, soul and mind…something that transcends any logical thought but yet is extremely logical. Faith is something that keeps our hand stretched out….something we subconsciously teach our children, something we miraculously can’t deny. Something that gives us reason to live….to breath….to hope…to be….that faith is sometimes a product of our works, because in the back of all our minds, the work we do is because we have faith that our actions will yield something- beauty.
When I began writing my first book, I was only 13 years old. I wanted to document the hurt I was feeling. I wanted to write the days and times things happened to me. I wanted something to be there, physically, something I could pick up and sift through in times of heartache.
My first book is really pieces of my journal. Like so many of us, journaling has been something we can count on. We know that even though it says “private”, we want the world to read it and know that they are not alone. When we use the key to open our journals, we are not only opening the journal to ourselves physically, we are allowing our spiritual and psychological self to be part of this journey.
Some of us title each new chapter “Dear God, Dear Jesus, Dear Spirit”. We give it a beginning middle and end. Just like our very existence, we too have a beginning, middle and end.
We give it a name because we long for understanding and a connection. We long for a connection that allows us and the journal to feel us, know us, understand us. Some chapters forget to be titled because they are the most abrupt, scary, and insecure parts of our lives….we don’t want to identify with our foundation, and yet at the foundation we yearn for an “I get it”. So we don’t title it, thinking that our heart, mind or body will forget that we ever wrote that part. This also allows us to go back years later and read it over, dismissing its importance; again allowing us to disconnect.
We write in our journals because we have faith that it will get it. We have faith that through expressing ourselves we can truly understand who we are and what we are going through. We write in our journals and realize that it is through our writing that we learn that faith is something that continues and that is picked up, and that is found, and that is had. Faith is not something that we are just born with, or forced on us, it is something we have found along the road, in our suffering, in our defeat, and in our ability to conquer.
Every day we write, we die inside. We die to ourselves as we find new hope, faith and meaning. We work and write and pray and love because that is how we learn to find faith.
I think of Faith like an object that is found after digging for days….you have to go through so much dirt, rock, roots, mud, water, bugs, and nasty crap in order to really find that treasure. Faith is like the treasure…..Faith is that treasure you have physically dug up.
So Death by faith is very intense because if you think about it, it is something you do daily. As you live your life, and smile, and love, and hug, and hope, and wish and do do do, you die…..but as you die and uncover who you are through your story you realize that that death has brought you into something that is waaay cooler, it has brought you into faith in God or spirit, yourself, others, your friends, your pets, your accomplishments, your insecurities, your life…..I feel each day that I am killed by faith, because as I write and disclose who I am, I am dying inside…..Faith has killed me but it has also awakened me and lead me to a life that allows me to say that Death by Faith is not so bad after all.