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I am not what I term religious, but I do have faith. It’s possible that I have faith because I prefer it to the alternative, but I have it nonetheless. I used to be bereft of it, and I remember what my life was like when I chose to ignore it. So I prefer choosing to see it. Because I feel that we are inherently positive. There is a part of us that yearns for optimism, that craves connection. But we are scared. We are scared to place trust in a broader picture, believing that it is disempowering and potentially deceptive.

I used to think it was easier, more realistic to be aloof with life, to not hold it to any expectations, to be cynical if not positively negative about possible outcomes. There’s a part of me that tries to cling to that still. But I also find it sad now that people look upon other people rejoicing and meet the outpouring of happiness with cynicism as easily as they do. But I get it. It’s easier to expect nothing and be proven right than it is to aim for the light and then see the shadows all around.

But to me faith is first and foremost believing in yourself. It’s knowing yourself well enough to trust your gut instead of relegating reactions to wishful thinking or negativity. It’s about knowing that you have the ability to play a hand in all outcomes, no matter how slightly, as long as you stay present in all that is happening. Faith, to me, is about reaching inside to pull yourself up first, rather than handing your emotional wellbeing to your partner, friend or stranger. It’s about knowing that you can glean something beautiful from anything that is in front of you and then taking responsibility for doing so.

I get that that is incredibly challenging and I don’t take it lightly. But I also consider myself blessed to be able to put that into practice, no matter how slowly, how minutely or how belatedly. I’ve come to think it’s far more scary to not know yourself on that level, to feel that disenfranchised from your own state of living. Having faith as I have, I have gained back a power over things that I once wished never happened and trust now that I can prevent them from happening again. And I consider myself blessed to be friends with people who are learning this too. Who in the face of huge adversity and challenge, when all looks as though it’s going wrong, trusts that it will go right. Whatever right is.

And to those people, today of all days, I say thank you. Thank you for your courage and your spirit and your tenacity. Thank you for proving that it’s all about the journey and embracing it as wholeheartedly as you do. Thank you for what you have proved to yourself and to me, to those you love and those who love you. Thank you for being a part of the positivity and daring to shine your light. May it shine ever brighter.

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