BY LEAPS AND MOUNDS

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Book of Christmas Virtues

By Leaps and Mounds

You’ve heard it said; we all have. The odds are good that you’ve even said it yourself at one time or another: “Seeing is believing.”

In the movie, The Santa Clause, Elf Judy put it another way: “Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing.”

And, of course, the Bible repeats the theme in renowned poetic perfection: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

The world runs on faith. Wispy, yet tenacious. Universal, but personal. Effortless and, sometimes, arduous. Incorporating this virtue into our lives draws us into a larger, divine order.

Defined as “believing” and “trusting,” faith is—above all else— an action, of a crystal mountain lake. one we practice nearly every moment of our lives. Our belief or trust is automatic on the most basic human level. In a secular sense, we live by faith every day—from the magnificent to the mundane—by relying on the goodness of mankind, the principle of gravity, the diagnoses of physicians, even the descriptions in an encyclopedia.

On a more spiritual level, faith means taking chances. And nowhere is that more obvious than watching a child. Any child. Because that’s where faith shines brightest—in a childlike heart.

Like Diane’s.

After bouts of friendly water warfare, showing off their underwater handstands and playing shark, the kids were excited that their dad offered to take them to the other end of the swimming pool. The water there was so deep even Daddy couldn’t touch the bottom.

“Let’s try out the diving board,” he urged.

Eight-year-old Kent scooted up the ladder, raced the length of the board and belly flopped into a splash that surprised even Daddy. Diane held back while her younger sister climbed the ladder and, with only a bit of coaxing, took hesitant steps to the edge. Wanda gave one half-hearted bounce, flung her arms upward in complete abandon and practically threw herself into Daddy’s open arms.

“Your turn, punkin’.”

Diane counted the five steps on the ladder. Twice. Once going up—and again scurrying down.

“Don’t be afraid,” Daddy called.

Even though her knees buckled, Diane made it up the ladder at last. She sidled the length of the diving board and curled her toes in a death grip over the edge. Wet and shivering, lips quivering, teeth chattering, she looked down, down . . . down to where Daddy treaded.

“I’ll catch you,” Daddy reassured her.

And Diane trusted. She leapt. Right into his arms.

Sometimes we must dare our souls to go further than is comfortable, further—at times—than we can see. That’s how we practice faith; we actually create more faith—stronger faith—by trusting. In Daddy. In ourselves. In God. And to trust is, of course, to triumph.

And so it is that catchphrases abound, reminding us to build our faith:

Keep the faith.

Feed your faith.

Have faith.

Faith moves mountains.

As we exercise our faith, our lives grow stronger. We build our faith into muscle. And it becomes progressively easier to exercise trust and to believe. To realize dreams, achieve goals and fulfill ambitions.

Until, somewhere along the journey, we learn that an all-encompassing faith is our passport to joy.

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