Keeping the Faith?

Guess who’s back? (Tell a friend, tell a friend, tell a friend.)

I’ve been gone for what feels like forever and I feel totally guilty about it. Suffice it to say that there has been a lot going on in my life lately. This past weekend was the first one I’ve had with no obligations since…. mid-May, I think? Possibly even April.

And of course during that first free weekend we lost power.

If it makes you hate me less, please know that I thought of you often. I even sat down once to write something, only to discover that Frank was having some WordPress issues and I couldn’t see anything I was typing. It was 3 a.m. I was tired. I gave up and went to sleep.

I hope you’ll forgive me and continue to come here and read our posts. Although things are not yet totally settled for me and there could be some more major shaking coming up soon, I’m going to do my best to update regularly again (also, Frank has at least three book reviews he wants to do because his face is sick of sitting in a drawer). And I also hope that you will stick with me as I ease my way back into writing here.

Given my plethora of recent commitments, I was unable to keep my commitments here. I am, however, committed to this blog, as well as to you, Frankophiles.

(Did I just win for the worst, most awkward transition ever?!)

A friend of mine blogged earlier this week and touched upon some themes dealing with faith and commitment. All of it got me thinking. And while her context is different than mine, those are precisely the issues I’ve been exploring in my head for the past few days.

The way I see it, a solid commitment leads to faith. This is true in just about every area of life that I can think of, no matter how I wrap my mind around it. My commitment to my job gave me a place to build my faith in the business (and myself); in return, my employer’s faith in me increased. My commitment to my friendships hopefully lets my friends know that they can count on me and that I value our friendship. My sincere hope is that it builds their faith in me as a person and a friend.

But the opposite is also true. Where there is a breakdown in commitment, there is a breakdown in faith. It becomes difficult to put your faith in someone when you truthfully don’t know if you can or should trust them. After all, when someone walks out the door and says, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” faith in that person is what keeps you believing that you will talk to them tomorrow. Without faith, you might roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, and mumble “Yeah, yeah…” as they go.

I think of those trust exercises that people do (like on Mean Girls) where you climb a ladder and then fall backwards to a group waiting there to catch you. If you have faith in their commitment to you, you have no trouble falling backwards. You have no trouble opening up, being honest.

You have no trouble making yourself vulnerable.

And they catch you, just like you knew they would.

But if you have doubts about that commitment, anxiety sets in. And I can tell you from a hefty bit of personal experience that anxiety never accomplished much. (It just makes you a HUGE pain in the ass on Twitter, as I’m sure many of my friends would tell you, given my propensity for live-tweeting my anxiety attacks.)

So this brings me to the question I’m struggling with quite a bit lately: Is it possible to be committed to something, then, if your faith in that thing is lost?

Or perhaps the better question is: Should you continue to commit to something if your faith in it is lost?

I have mixed feelings about this. And truthfully, I’m not sure if matters of faith are even in my league anymore. Following my heart seemed to get me in way over my head. I kind of feel like The Sandlot lied to me.

 

In a few areas of life right now, I guess you could say I’m having a crisis of faith.

My way of dealing with these things before has always been to continue to commit. I’m a hard worker and I’m driven. When I commit to something, I don’t like to give up on it. I invest in people for the long haul and put my faith in them.

But some people make it so insanely difficult to keep the faith.

I have a friend who hasn’t responded to one of my attempts at conversation in three months. When that happens and you tell someone about it, the typical reaction from a normal person seems to be, “Forget him/her. You’re better without and no one deserves to be dicked around like that.”

And it’s true. I know that’s true. No one is perfect and people make mistakes. But no one deserves to be treated  like that. That’s some painful stuff and it’s difficult to deal with. At least… it is for me, anyway. For all my “Whatever, I don’t care” talk and attempts to toughen up, I’m really quite sensitive. The slightest push is going to leave a sizable bruise.

And yet.

For as angry and hurt as I feel about that situation, I know that if that friend suddenly responded to me tomorrow, I would be perfectly happy to continue our friendship.

Because I’m committed to it. And I have faith in my commitment, if not in my friendship. I have faith that my commitment will restore my friendship.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Only in this dream world I tend to live in. Because I’ve waited weeks, months, years for things to improve and they don’t.

But I don’t let go well. It’s that damn over-commitment.

And then, of course, when you say you’re deeply committed to something, there’s always going to be someone there to break your faith a little bit more by telling you it’s all bullshit.

IS it all bullshit?

How far should faith in a commitment go before it’s no longer worth all the nights crying about it and beating your fists against the wall in frustration (literally and figuratively)?

How far should your faith in a single person or situation go before you give up and wave the white flag? I’m defeated. You win. Doing it too soon surely indicates a lack of commitment, but is continuing to work at something until you’re exhausted with working so hard necessarily admirable?

I don’t know. I don’t know where that balance is. I have such a hard time letting go and giving up on anything — anyone, really. I suppose this means that, while my faith might be in broken, jagged shards that keep cutting me, it’s still there somewhere.

If someone or something is important to me, I’m in it all the way. I attribute a decent number of friendships spanning 15+ years to this commitment. It used to be such a positive, admirable trait.

To me, nothing is as comforting as knowing that someone is going to be there, no questions asked. It’s so comforting toknow someone cares about you without having to ask or be told. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

And it’s so jarring and upsetting when that faith is shaken, cracked, broken. When you’ve known forever that something is a certain way, and suddenly you can’t trust that anymore, and you start wondering how much of it is your own fault. Fault, after all, is always a shared thing. It’s just that some people prefer to believe the split is somewhere around 99.9/.1. And suddenly nothing you do will ever be good enough for those people.

So what’s the point, then, in continuing to commit? Why keep trying? Why continue to believe that things will get better when all signs point to no? Action doesn’t talk, but it will always speak louder. Every time.

When did caring about and investing in people become such a bad thing? When did we get to the point that we  narrow down until we can only care about ourselves and maybe one other person, and forget everyone else? To the point where our worlds are so, so tiny?

Or maybe it’s just that what leaves the biggest mark is knowing that someone you want to believe in has lost all faith in you. Why is it so easy for some people to walk away when they lose faith while others of us agonize over the situation for months or years?

When did it become such a bad idea to believe in people?

images courtesy of morgueFile.

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One thought on “Keeping the Faith?

  1. I have a friend like that. Always up to me to get in touch, sometimes we’ll have conversations, then radio silence for months at a time. Took me the first four years I knew him to realise I was just his backup person for when shit was going down and no one on his A-list was available. So why couldn’t I just cut him out of my life? Maybe I’m in love, a bit. When he calls, I’m happy, even though I know I should tell him ‘you’re a shitty friend. Suck my dick. Go away.’ Over the last year or so, after he had let me down about a billion times and it finally starting getting through my rock-thick skull, I found that I was able to loosen my choke on that love. I’m still happy to hear from him. I’ll still try to instigate conversations. Meetings when we’re in the same country at the same time. but I’ve managed to cut him out of that closest, inner part of my heart, into the further away, don’t really care part. Don’t ask me how. Let them fade out. You don’t have to chop them out completely, but if they go a little staticky and you let someone better take first place in your heart, it all just shuffles itself around nicely. So I keep telling myself.

    MISSED YOU, BRAIN TWIN! (not in a guilt way. In a ‘yyyyello! yay!’ kind of way. :)

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