Remember to Breathe.

Some days are a struggle from the moment you get out of bed. The kids may be throwing a temper tantrum because they don’t want to go to school. Your hair may refuse to cooperate with anything except for looking like a porcupine. The dog may get sick on the carpet. And your loving spouse may be in a foul mood because they’re going into work at a job they have come to hate.

In all of this, it is hard to remember that the gods are there for us. In some cases, it may even feel like they have abandoned us or perhaps we have been hallucinating their presence in our lives. Faith when things are challenging is not easy. In fact, it is probably one of the hardest aspects of religion. No one talks about it because no one wants to admit that sometimes they have difficulty believing.

Today was not an easy day for me. I’m still feeling unwell because my ribs are bruised from being sick. I haven’t slept well for a little while because of said bruised ribs. The kids were fussy this morning and argued with me up until it was time for them to get on the bus. My morning was pretty much eaten up by the nap that I unintentionally took when I sat down on the couch to rest for a few minutes before I started on my chores for the day. It was like a typical Monday but on a Tuesday.

Sometimes faith come attendant with rainbows and warm fuzzy feelings. Sometimes it is simply the stubborn refusal to give up in the face of difficulty. We are not called by the gods to be happy and blissful all the time. Nor are we called to be filled with deep spiritual wisdom and transcendent peace in even the most trying of times. All that they ask is that we believe. Some days, it is hard for me to say that I believe that the gods care for me. On days where it seems like everything is going wrong and I can’t do a single thing right despite how hard I try, I get angry at the gods for the challenges in my life. Those days, I want to rail and insist that they fix things so that it isn’t so damn hard.

Faith is one of the hardest things because it is so simple. All it is boils down to a choice. Do you choose to believe that the gods are there or not? It’s alright to get angry with the gods. It’s alright to get angry with the whole situation you are in. The same is true for any other negative emotion that might come up. We can’t be happy and peaceful all the time. We’re just not wired that way. Faith is a lot like love, I suppose.

People assume that love is just an emotion. It is more then that. Love is an action. Every day, I choose to love my husband, children, and the gods. I choose to have faith in them. No matter how angry or desperate the situation makes me, I still have that choice. The trick is remembering that you can make that choice. Why do I choose faith and love when all of my difficulties are encouraging me not to? Well, some of it is because I get stubborn and refuse to be bullied by life. (Seriously, the fastest way to make me decide to oppose you is to start trying to push me around.) Some of it is because I value the relationships more then I value the temporary satisfaction that might come from not making the decision to love and have faith.

Is it easier? Not always, but I think the results in the long run are worth it. Fighting your personal battles to stay at the side of those you value honors them as much as it honors you. The fact that you are willing to take on that struggle for their sake, that is what the gods treasure. That is faith.

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