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Faith has powerful connotations in the vocabularies of each person. It is a strongly religious word, and yet atheists and agnostics can have faith in their own beliefs or lack thereof. Faith, to me, is a combination of trust in a higher power and a trust in the natural cycles of birth, growth, decline, death, and decay. It is faith that allows me to endure long, crippling bouts of depression, knowing that it is no more than a warped perception of my present circumstances. Faith allows me to continue to do my very best work and accept less than stellar recognition or reward for my efforts. It is an enduring belief in a greater good, as real as gravity or magnetism, but just as invisible.

My faith has been tested a lot in recent months. A series of unfortunate events have collided in the month of June and continued into July. My beloved dog nearly died, but was saved with some very expensive medicine. My husband’s truck conked out and needed a big repair. My back gave out and requires expensive treatment. No bonuses are given out at work, and raises are a specter in the far off future. Marrying my husband caused our tax return to go way down, and my student loan payments to go way up. These are “tests of faith.”

The thing is, to take the test, you need a sharpened #2 pencil. My pencil feels like a stub, sharpened with a buck knife, and the lead is about to fall out. I wrote some great songs, and wrote a couple of books, made a few great films…but saw very little monetary gain for all my efforts. I have spearheaded projects at work that saved the company millions of dollars, but I am still at a low salary relative to my abilities. Faith moves mountains. Faith is a renewable resource. When my pencil finally breaks, the proctor will give me a new one. I hope.

Next entry will be about “Grace.”