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Archive for May, 2012

There’s been a lot in the media lately about sacred versus secular, faith versus fact. The public debate continues and since I’ve already made my stance on those issues clear (Zealots at the Door), I don’t feel the need to continue bashing on that poor, long mummified equine.

No, today’s ramble is far more important. It’s still about faith, but a more ethereal and cherished version, a version we can all agree on.

Dictionary.com has the following definitions for the word “faith:”

Faith [feyth]

noun

1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. Belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4. Belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

5. A system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

You’ll note that the religious version doesn’t show up until the third definition, and appears in only two of the five. The first definition, the one we can all understand and accept, is the definition we need to be following, regardless of our actual political, religious, or sports team affiliations.

My circle of friends encompasses a wide range of ideologies, religions, political viewpoints, ages, job descriptions and hobbies. With some of them, I’ve made a pact: there are topics that we have agreed to disagree on, and usually don’t talk about. I’ve even done this with my husband, that Kansas-Redneck-Republican-Marine-Christian-PC using albino gorilla who tends to be almost as stubborn as I am. That is the faith that goes with friendship, that “confidence or trust in a person.” I may stand on the opposite side of the protest line from some of my friends, but when the shit really hits the fan, I know each one of them would do their best to be there for me.

Looking back on the high points of my life, I realized that faith played a much larger part in things than I had previously acknowledged. My parents always supported me in my creative endeavors, even as it seemed they didn’t really understand why I needed to do those things. They gave me the leeway to explore and allowed me to take the opportunities presented. They let me be me, having faith that I would be a good person and make the right choices, and being there to help pick the pieces up when things didn’t go as well as planned.

When I chose a college half the country away for my undergraduate degree, they weren’t all that keen on the idea and made me defend my choice. Given that it was one of the best schools in the nation for the degree I wanted, and even paying out-of-state tuition there was cheaper than the in-state schools I’d looked at, it wasn’t really a hard argument. Once done, they supported me. Not having my own children, I can only imagine how hard it must be to see your first-born go off into the cold, cruel world, but they did it, because they had faith in me.

It was a similar situation when I was accepted to the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Back in the mid ‘80’s LA was experiencing a lot of negative press because of regular smog alerts, gang violence, racial tensions and corruption. Okay, maybe not so much different than now, but my family had never lived in a “big city” before, and the seedy mystique of LA plagued our minds. My mother really didn’t like the idea of me living on my own in La-La Land, especially when I was going to be involved with the entertainment industry, long a bastion for free-thinking, boundary-shredding, rules-breaking hedonists. I had to convince her that the opportunity was more than worth it, that the fact I had won a spot over hundreds of other applicants to one of the most prestigious film schools in the world (the Hollywood Reporter has it listed at number one these days) meant I had something special and I would always regret not at least trying. It took some convincing, especially given the cost (twenty years of student loans, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant…), but she finally agreed.

She visited for a week during the year I was at AFI. She sat in several classes with me, listening to Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner discuss how they worked on The Bill Cosby Show, which they were executive producing at that time, and watching me nearly run over Michael Landon in the hallway between lectures. She left that week realizing I had made the right choice, that the opportunity did indeed far outweigh the price. Her faith in me had been affirmed.

There have been other times when such support has been forthcoming from family and friends. The most recent has been from my husband. When we finally sat down and had that talk about what I really wanted to do and how I just couldn’t handle going back to an office environment, I was all set for a lengthy discussion. I had all the pros and cons already weighed out, had the financial battle plan drafted, even had job listings at the ready if he just couldn’t see it my way. What did he do? He said okay. Right from the beginning. Nothing like being ready for a fight and not getting one.

His only explanation is that he knew I could do it. He had FAITH in me. He accepted me for what I am and gave me the unconditional support to go be that. It is because of him, and the fact he goes off to bust his butt at work every day, that I can sit here with my bare feet up, typing away on my wireless keyboard, sipping hot tea and blathering on to whoever will read about the things rattling around in my head.

So everyone around me has shown me what faith is, what believing in someone despite the lack of proof to their abilities can do for their world. Just imagine what could happen if I had faith in myself…

© 2012 Cheri K. Endsley. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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