There’s something to be said for not writing in the middle of the struggle. It’s easier to collect your thoughts and feelings after the fact, when you have perspective and you’re less likely to fall into despair. But there’s just as much to be said for writing through it. Partly because that’s how you get through it, and partly I just want to be honest with you. Because we are so rarely honest about how hard it really is, in that moment-to-moment way. And it can be so hard.
I’ve been talking so much about impossible ideas, about dreaming them, thinking them, allowing them to live and grow, about believing in them because that’s how they become possible. But the truth is, I’m kind of a hypocrite when it comes to these things.
I don’t know if more people asked me or if it just felt like more people asked me, but it seemed like every single person I know asked me the same question this week: “How’s your week going?” Again, it probably wasn’t any more than normal; maybe the reason it feels like that is just because I decided to give an honest answer.
This week has felt like an eternity, and not in that working-hard-let’s-get-to-the-weekend-already way. I was dreading the weekend more than anything because I knew it wouldn’t stand as much of a relief.
The details are not so important, just know that it’s about money and that I really wish it wasn’t. Money is such a terrible reason to be worried about things. But, whether we like it or not, (and who actually likes it?), money makes the world go ‘round. It at least lets us live and eat and drive cars and feel like responsible, productive members of society.
The sad irony is that I actually got some good news at the beginning of the week. Regular, long-term work that will turn into a lot of opportunities. A bit of daylight that I was actually looking forward to. But then I remembered bills, the ones I’m paying and the ones I can’t, and all of what should have been joy got swallowed up like ice in the mouth of a furnace.
I knew this was going to be hard, that’s a large part of the reason it took me so long to start this, even after I got to Atlanta. But I didn’t know, maybe couldn’t know how hard. I’ve talked before about faith and how it’s not what we think it is, and even since then my definition of it has been redefined. It’s constantly being reshaped.
This week was a faith week, and next week is probably going to be one too. And so on for I don’t know how long. And I want to take pride in that. I want to believe that’s where I’m supposed to be, where I’m being strengthened in the process, living in the unknown, but a lot of the times I’m begging God to put me back in the known because it takes too much effort to keep believing that he will handle the next crisis, and there’s always a next crisis.
I slip back-and-forth between talking about creativity and talking about faith, because I believe they’re related. But maybe I didn’t explain well enough. Maybe I surprised you with the God stuff. If so I’m sorry. I know enough about all this to know honesty is the best policy, and I want to be honest with you.
I believe in God, but that hasn’t made any of this easier.
I’ve wanted to give up so many times. To shutter my Services page and tell myself it wasn’t the right time or I didn’t do it right or I’m just not right for it. Even now I’m not totally convinced. Because I can’t make the numbers work and I’m not being “responsible” and I’m afraid I’m going to lose everything. I know I’m not supposed to let fear drive, but there are times it seems like the only one who knows where it’s going.
At the same time, so much is happening. I’m involved in amazing things. Projects that will one day blossom into incredible ventures. But I feel guilty because none of those opportunities are changing the numbers. And I feel more guilty for feeling guilty at that.
So when someone asked me this week how it was all going, I decided to tell them the truth. That I didn’t know. That I wanted to be confident that it was going to work out. But that was the hardest thing to believe right now. And not a single person turned away. In my darkest moment, I had some of the best conversations I’ve ever had with some of the best people I’ve ever known.
It didn’t make it all go away, but it at least helped me know I wasn’t alone. And, in small ways, helped me believe again.
I think that’s what faith really is. Sometimes, it’s reminding ourselves of the truth, believing in what has been true even when it doesn’t feel true anymore. Sometimes it’s trusting to the impossible, believing in what hasn’t been true before. Sometimes it’s just believing again. And again. And again.
Whether you believe in God or not, whether you believe really in anything, I think faith is probably still a part of your life. We will never have all the answers or even all the information, so at some point we’ll have to make a decision with what we’ve got. Faith is the stuff that fills in the gaps. It lets us go forward when we can’t see where the path ends.
Sometimes it’s a choice, and then there are times like these when it’s the only option you have.
We need it. I need. It doesn’t make it easier, by any stretch of the imagination, but it can make it possible. That’s part of how the impossible becomes possible.
And more than anything it’s worthwhile.