A Question of Faith

June 10, 2004

I recently heard a definition of faith that works for me. The Reverend William Sloane Coffin puts it this way: Faith is not belief without proof, faith is trust without reservation.

My recent experience losing a contract and searching for a job this spring has certainly tested my trust in the future, and, more deeply, my trust in myself. Not taking the end of my contract personally has been extremely difficult. Regaining the loss of faith in myself has been a struggle. Not getting any substantive offers for the first two months of unemployment certainly didn't help.

Being unemployed gave me reservations about myself. Not getting any offers for such a long time reenforced those reservations. My crisis of faith was so profound that when I finally received a written offer I questioned it. I doubted that I could really do the job, and I doubted that the job was right for me. Since I hadn't fully overcome the doubt instilled in me as a result of my contract situation, I couldn't view this new offer openly and with any degree of faith.

Michele and I have spent a lot of time revisiting the feelings we both have as a result of my job loss. It has been a long, hard process examining the feelings of helplessness, rage, disappointment, and futility. Every day we cycle through periods of hope and expectancy alternated with feelings of despair and loss. Having a job offer that would require uprooting our life and moving wasn't helping. It was easy to focus our hotter emotions towards this offer, finally after months of no outlet for our feelings we had a target.

Recognizing that I was in no position to fairly evaluate my offer I have tabled it for the past couple of weeks. Time is running out however, I am going to have to accept it or reject it within the next few days. I am finding that my questions about my faith are still with me. The aren't as powerful as they were two months ago, but I still have doubts and reservations.

I know that no choice in life is ever without risk. You always have to make a leap of faith, sometimes large, sometimes small. Going forward from here will require a sizable leap of faith.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.