faithfully doubtful

There can’t be any true faith that isn’t susceptible to enormous sieges of doubt.
— Adam Gopnik on On Being - Practicing Doubt, Redrawing Faith

March 29, 2016 - Daily Notes

Last night before yoga, I was sitting next to a beautiful woman. I know her a little. We've spoken before, about art school. She's attending. She is not in her twenties.

It was a brave thing to do, leaving her job and going back to school to study art. One year ago I remember she was questioning whether she had made the right decision.

So last night I asked her, "How is art school going?" She told me the first term had been filled with self-doubt but this second term is different, better. I could see it it in her eyes and to me it looked like confidence.

I asked her, "What is your favorite part of the experience right now?" She thought about it, then told me it is the slow unfolding of making something that happens by simply showing up for it every day.

The hardest part, she told me, is really just getting there. Once she is at school it is like being on a slide and everything glides down into form. Day by day.

She said it feels like faith and doubt. As though her faith in her own ability to create is being formed by and could not exist without her uncertainty, her hesitation, her insecurity.

I thought about an interview I heard last autumn on OnBeing with the author, Adam Gopnik. Something he said struck the chord in my heart that often says, "write this down" and so I did. He said, "There can't be any true faith that isn't susceptible to enormous sieges of doubt." 

Sitting there on my mat, my mind instantly wound from this woman's story to my own. Yes, there are days I feel confident that starting Lucia was the right thing to do. I do have faith it will succeed. Sometimes. But there are also days when I have enormous sieges of doubt.

So I come back to my journals, my circle of women friends, my heart. I sit at my computer and write a small blog post before starting my "real" work day. I do my best to get to myself to my version of art school. I show up. This is my faith. It is in motion, in progress, fluid, and full of doubt. Faithfully doubtful.

Maybe the questioning of our own abilities is what causes us to look for something larger than ourselves. Maybe that "something larger" lies in the simple act of showing up for our work each day. Bit by bit, we make. We practice faith and we create.