Faithfully Doubtful


"There can't be any true faith that isn't susceptible to enormous sieges of doubt." -Adam Gopnik on OnBeing - Practicing Doubt, Redrawing Faith

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

I asked, "What is your favorite part of the experience right now?" She thought, 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 said, is really just getting to school. Once there, it is like being on a slide. Everything glides down into form.

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 a chord in my heart and I whispered to myself, "write this down."

He said, "There can't be any true faith that isn't susceptible to enormous sieges of doubt."

Sitting there on a yoga 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. There are also days when I become encircled in 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. I am 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 our life. We practice faith and we create.