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Notes to Self: On the Difference Between Hope and Faith

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Part of a series called "Notes to Self", a collection of my personal iPhone notes.

photo by Sarah Speaks
Note to Self:

For the nights that the darkness consumes you, when you become lost in its waves; and for the mornings where fear shackles you to the security of your bed -- the one place you know the world and life cannot hurt you, where you cannot fail because you did not get up, where you cannot get hurt but also cannot grow wise because you did not live and you did not learn, where your heart cannot break because you did not dare to love, where your world cannot be shattered because it is so small in comparison to the vast void of all that could be possible which surrounds you, filling with darkness in the absence of your light----a light you might not be able to see but which illuminates a path for so many others----hiding beneath the covers you pull over your eyes to protect your innermost sense of control from the truth of your damnation to an uncertain, flawed existence by virtue of being a human on earth with a beating heart...

Remember this:

Hope is an act of rebellion to all the chaos, fear, and uncertainty we cannot control which operates by diminishing fear's power over us, capable of existing with indelible abandon for all which could possibly go wrong and of being blindsided when it does. Faith, on the other hand, is an act of courage which chooses to make peace with fear. It cannot exist in the absence of that which has and can and will go wrong, despair, sorrow, uncertainty, their midst is where faith reveals itself. Where a human being's divinity can be realized.
While hope is innocent, faith is the product of being battered and robbed of innocence and finding one's way back to it.

Faith looks fear in the eye and acknowledges our helplessness to the force of fear's power to prove itself correct. Faith says, "But what if you are wrong?". Says, "I always have something up my sleeve" when hope has run out of ideas to counteract fear and has lost its strength to keep fighting against its equal opposite -- fear, which never runs out of gas.

Hope is a vision crystalized by the mind and implanted in the heart, capable of shattering with a change of circumstance. Faith, by its nature, is flexible; invisible and intangible even to the most brilliant minds, emanating from within the heart until it implants in the mind's eye a sliver of doubt to remain open to possibility beyond that which it has been trained to see. The light which cannot be seen in the dark, but whose conviction of its existence alone is enough reason to keep moving forward and choosing the possibility of life, love, and victory of all that can go beautifully right anyway on the off-chance we just might get damn lucky.

Even when all has seemingly gone wrong to the point it becomes accepted as a pattern which, according to the inherently deceptive logic of fear, will inevitably repeat itself in the future as history has proven, fear will say, as fact. Even when it feels like we deserve it, brought it upon ourselves. When we do not know and cannot imagine any differently. When we cannot dare let ourselves hope again, and might even be wise not to, because we have felt our souls break too many times with the collapse of its promise to deliver us from heartache only to be let down time and time again. When we cannot imagine a possible way out of the darkness smothering our foresight. Faith is believing in magic and recognizing that it too is a product of the night. Hope represents the soul's desire for freedom from suffering. Faith is the vehicle which carries the soul there.*

In the times you cannot keep the faith, remember that tomorrow is always a new day to dust it off again.
Faith is that old friend that never goes away even when you try to tell it to fuck off. Hope -- hope will eventually fuck off. Faith, however, stays quiet in the background and patiently waits for you to say, "Hi. I am sorry I forgot about you for so long. Will you be my friend again?"
Faith says, "Of course. I never stopped".

Have faith in yourself.


*The desire for freedom from suffering in the collective conscious is personified, brought to life and framed in the context of religion. Heaven in the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam), Moksha in Hinduism, Nirvana in Buddhism, for example. Whether we believe in religion or astrology or none of it, consider how religion and spirituality's presence----even if only projected stories in our world from the human psyche----potentially reveal a universal unconscious fear of entrapment to suffering in the mirror image of its opposing dual desire presented in the texts, hope for the possibility of freedom from suffering and existence of a place where unconditional love and peace reign -- this place being in the afterlife. Consider what the presence of these universally projected stories since the beginning of time whether real or simply the human psyche's way of coping can reveal to us about the nature within ourselves, the nature of the soul (or what completely scientific anatomical structure in the grey matter of our brains gives us what we call "soul".)

Please be aware, these are simply my personal notes and not to be taken as truth or professional advice.

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