Monday, 8 June 2015

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

A bit like Wendy in Peter Pan, and possibly more like her daughter Jane in the Disney sequel, I've been lacking in three fundamental things recently.

Faith, trust and pixie dust may seem like fantastical things which we impress upon young children in an attempt to keep them innocent of the evils of merchandising and general life, but it seems to me that as adults we, too, need a dose of fantasy every now and again.

I'm well aware that I have a childish side.

At 28, I should not still cry at Disney, be able to recite every song verbatim or dream that somewhere is a Prince Charming (or similarly placed lead man) who will sweep me off my feet and away from my life of utter drudgery (which isn't really all that bad - I certainly have a better life than some).

But there are times when this manner of thinking has helped me.

 Whether it's a throwaway comment designed to make someone laugh when they're having a tough day, or just songs that pick me up when I'm feeling burdened with the cumbersome details of daily life, relishing being a bit of a kid is a good thing.

Having faith is a lot more than simply trusting that everything will work out.

Faith is knowing that despite being completely weighed down by doubts and fears, you can still be who are meant to be. That despite everything around you going downhill, you can keep climbing up the mountain. Despite your life seeming to be full of those annoying speed-bumps or a never-ending slalom of pot holes, you have a way through them and, okay, you might hit a few of them, you can get through the stuff that plonks itself in your way and you might even find yourself heading in a better direction.

Some will argue that faith and God are interlinked, and I suppose they are to an extent. But even those without a belief in a particular God or 'religion' are able to live their lives with faith that things will work out in the end. That, I assume, is  the difference between Faith and faith (if you will allow me to make such a distinction).

Nevertheless, it's a lot to pin on a word like 'faith'.

Trust is another concept that we seem to dissociate ourselves from as soon as we reach a critical point in childhood.

As a child, we trust that the world is like the cartoons we see. That the people we meet are lovely and nice. That every one we meet is going to be our friend and the best person we will ever meet, who will have nothing bad to say. That our parents and pets will be around forever and love us indefinitely.

But things happen.

Our best friend suddenly decides that we are no longer worthy when we're in primary school, and your life feels like its ending. Your hamster dies on your birthday, turning it into the worst day of your life. Your family, through no fault of your own,  divides and leaves you feeling alone and unloved. Your partner decides that the relationship you've been building for nearly a year is no longer worth the effort. The random stranger that you smile at snaps a nasty or rude reply to you.

Our trust can be chipped away at by so many small things that we sometimes reach a point where we suddenly find ourselves unwilling to put ourselves out into the world for its derision when we reach our teenage years. This shaky foundation can make anyone a wreck,

Without trust, we live very insular lives. Trust is essential. We trust that the person we ask directions from will give us the correct directions. We trust that the person holding open a door might keep it from slamming into our faces. We trust that the news that we are given is an accurate account of what has actually happened.

That essential little thing that seems to rule most of our lives - trust.

Perhaps the hardest item to quantify in all of this is pixie dust.

Pixie dust, in my context, represents that fantastical quality that we seem to lose.

That wonder of what makes the sky blue and the grass green. How birds can stay in the air and how worms bury themselves underground. How thunder, lightening, snow, rain and hail are all so different, but all come from the same place. Where the wind goes after it passes by us.

Pixie dust is that magical wonder that we can bring to what we see all around us.

I have had two very different moments like that since I began drafting this blog post.

It was a particularly windy day, and a bee stopped to rest on the outer window frame to take stock and have a bit of a tidy up as it soon became clear that it had been on a massive pollen gathering expedition. Now, normally, I'm rather afraid of bees. I'm generally wary around anything that flies and has a stinger on it. But with a double glazed window in between me and it, I took the chance to study it in beautiful detail. From it's antennae to it's legs I marvelled at the perfection of its tiny form - the eyes, the wings, the knowledge that it had it's own minuscule internal organs packed inside it's less than one inch body.

The second was having the opportunity to chat with a lady who was nearly 100 years old and was telling me all about her father, the St Christopher that had been hisand what their life had been like when she was young. That made me wonder at the advances that technology has gone through in the past 100 years and the move from virtually nothing electronic in the home to houses packed with appliances, screens, monitors, DVD players, microwaves, freezers, boilers and radiators.

There is a lot that is magical about the world, if only we could stop and stare at it long enough to get our own dose of pixie dust.

So I think we would all benefit from a little more faith, trust and pixie dust...

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