By Mark E. Smith
When I look at the three biggest challenges that have spanned my adulthood – writing, disability and romance – there’s a common denominator that forever keeps me pushing forward during both highs and lows: Faith.
Now, I don’t mean faith in religious terms – although, many people do, and that’s great. Rather, faith for me is belief, it’s an innate understanding that no matter what I face, I will pull through ultimately to my own betterment – that is, the light will be brighter at the end of each tunnel.
Faith for me, however, doesn’t function on its own. Faith directly correlates with effort. When I was in my early 20s as a young writer, my rejection ratio by magazine editors was around 20 to 1. For several years, my mail box was a literal daily dose of rejection, seemingly indisputable proof that I was failing as a writer. Yet, I simply had faith and I used all of that rejection as inspiration. I knew I wanted to write and I had faith that I could make it as a writer, so I put effort behind my faith and went to college to learn formalities and hone my craft. It’s taken over two decades, but my closet shelves are now lined with over 1,000 formal publications that I’ve been published in, plus all of my books and countless essays from the web. I went from spending my days seemingly writing for the sake of rejection to now editors offer me assignments. The factor of success has been having faith that I could be what I believed, and then applying the effort to become that success.
Disability and romance in my life have followed the same faith-based path. At many points individuals, situations and society have told me that I’m lesser, that I couldn’t achieve based on my disability. But, my faith has ultimately had the final vote. Dismiss me or count me out, but my faith assures that in the end, with effort, I will overcome. I may face challenges, but my faith dictates that I will succeed in the end in spite of them.
Of course, the struggle to find enduring love is a universal, epic one. Think about the canon of literature, art, music and movies that address our desire for enduring love. And, I’ve faced that struggle, too. Yet, I’ve had faith that as long as I live my best, with effort and awareness, enduring love will sustain itself in my life.
I put it this way: Life is a roller coaster – the highs are exhilarating and the lows are frightening. Yet, there’s a surefire way to even out the course. It’s called faith. With faith, and effort behind it, it’s impossible to get emotionally mired in even the bleakest situations because no matter what all signs may tell us, there’s only one truth: We will ultimately overcome. Have faith, put effort behind it, and believe that you are intrinsically capable of living the life of your dreams.