Belief is a funny thing. When I was younger, my mom swore to me that the Tooth Fairy was real and even though Santa Clause was a far fetched stretch of the imagination (and something I learned early on was not real), the Tooth Fairy ... the Tooth Fairy was definitely a different ballgame. Because the Tooth Fairy... she was real. Confident in my loving mother's honest ways, I brought the dollar bill I found under my pillow from a lost tooth exchanged from the Tooth Fairy, to school the next morning, to show off to all my friends. I was about seven years old. This was in second grade. Think back to second grade. What do you remember from it? Here's what I remember. Kids are darn cruel. Yes, even in second grade. Super duper cruel. I was devastated with what happened next.
First they laughed. Then they pointed and laughed. And then they ridiculed my stupidity, continued to point and obnoxiously laughed outloud. "You're soooo stupid!" "You're such a big baby!" Though the words were succint and to the point, they translated to a grown up's vocabulary of Wow, you really are gullible AND naive.
I went home that day dejected and disappointed in myself and my mother. How could I ever trust her again? I was scared to confront her but I was mad at how stupid I was for believing her. When I got home, despite my fear...I asked her why she lied to me. She said she didn't. I was furious!
"You told me there was a Tooth Fairy!" I screamed.
"There is" she told me.
"No there isn't!" I retorted. "The Tooth Fairy is fake just like Santa Clause!" I was so angry. I already knew the truth.. so why was she still trying to lie to me?
"Then how did that dollar bill get underneath your pillow and who took your tooth last night?" she asked me.
"You did!" I explained.
"Why can't I be your Tooth Fairy?" she asked.
I was silent. Technically, I never confirmed with her that a fairy with a cute little dress would fly into my window and use her wand to get my tooth out from under my pillow and give me money in exchange. Technically, the only thing I had discussed was the transactional side of the exchange and not the technicalities. Technically, she was right. Technically, I was still angry. Technically, I got over it.
I look back on that tooth fairy incident and laugh now. To me, the greater lesson learned is to think for yourself about what people tell you and consciously speculate whether it makes sense before believing too soon. Even at seven years of age, I knew people did not have wings. I knew fairies did not exist. But I wanted to believe that they did. I wanted to believe it was real even if it wasn't. Did I know if it was real? No, not really. But did I know if it was fake? No, not really. My beliefs were formulated around what I thought i knew.
As I continue investigating the Church, I earnestly seek reason behind every doctrine and the logic behind every principle taught. Despite seeking the aforementioned, I know in the deepest of my heart that this is the true Church. I know this weird feeling is not something I've concocted to reassure myself. I know this is God, knowing me and what I need and finding me when He knew I was ready. I know these weird events that have been happening in my life, what I like to call a series of coincidences too coincidental to be coincidental, is just part of his Plan to bring me back to Him. And I know I have never been happier. And regardless of what that means to anyone else, I know what it means to me and I know how I feel ... so sorry folks, this is it.
I'm not brainwashed. I choose to be faithful because I believe. I'm not a loner who is going to Church for the sense of community and support. My current friends are pretty amazing at that. I'm not joining the Church so I can find a guy, get married and make babies. I was already working on that before the Church (I have never hidden the fact that I want 5 kids and yes, I do know I'm already behind). I'm not jumping into this too quickly. It's been 2 months and I'm still not baptized (and it took a lot of self restraint to not jump into the water in San Jose the moment I felt the Spirit). If you're still confused, I invite you to come to Church with me, read the Book of Mormon and pray about it because no leaps of faith were ever made sitting on your bums!
Yes, I said it... a leap of faith. You knew it was coming because a) it was in the title and b) you're my friend so you must be smart (I know that's debatable at times for some of you)...
What is faith? Believing in something? Hoping that it will be like you believed? I turned to my hand dandy dictionary.com website for the official definition and the first two definitions stood out to me:
Faith [feyth] - noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or a thing;
2. belief that is not based on proof
To me, faith cannot coexist without this extensive exertion of leaping. Without this leap, your faith is lazy and faltering and most likely won't uphold much of a wind, a tiny push or any sort of opposition. Because if it's not strong enough for you to take a leap in which you may fall iinto who knows where.. it's not worth it. Everyone takes leaps of faith but not every leap is one associated with religion. Love is a leap of faith. One never knows when they'll wake up one day and be out of love. Yet we continue falling into it, putting our heart on the line making sacrifices for our significant other without any sort of guarantee that it will be recipocrated except for our faith in the fact that it will. Or our faith in the one we love. Well that my friends, is similar to the faith I experience with God.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11)
"...faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true..." (Alma 32:21)
Those words were so powerful to me because they are spot on. I'm not sure how faith works... nor do I know why it works. What I do know is the impact it has had on my life lately and how receptive I am to those changes. I know it freaks some people out but if my faith isn't hurting anyone so I'm confused about why anybody would be concerned about my faith. My faith makes me happy. My faith encourages me to live my life in accordance with His commandments. I don't think my faith has made me a better person. Or a nicer person (I'd like to think I was already kind, generous, thoughtful and considerate before) but I do sincerely think it makes me who I am and pushes me to be even better and nicer than I was (that does not mean I will stop being sarcastic or sassy). My faith truly completes me. And that ... is pretty awesome. Plus, at the end of the day, I'd hate to be selfish but .. it's my leap.... I am not falling into any abyss so just let me make my leap and watch how great it is. If you want to make a similar leap, let's talk. We can leap together.