Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Faith Works

My therapist told me of a stroke patient who doesn't believe exercise will help; therefore she doesn't do it; therefore she doesn't get better. Our beliefs shape our reality.

There have been times in recovery where I've been unable to see how I'm going to get from A to B – from not being able to stand on my own to running. From not being able to open my fingers to typing. In times of doubt, faith has been the only tool that keeps me trying.

Faith is tough for an analytical, proof-based person like me. It requires a leap away from logic.

In high school I participated in an assembly featuring a hypnotist. With a dozen kids on stage, I closed my eyes and made a conscious decision to do as the hypnotist asked. I felt in complete control of my mind and choices. He asked me to stand and become stiff as a board. He told me he was laying me on a table and putting a book on my stomach. I felt the table under me, and the slight pressure of a book on my belly.

This picture from the 1981 yearbook shows what the audience saw: My tiny self propped between two chairs – one under my head and one under my feet – and a grown man standing on my unsupported stomach.

If I had opened my eyes, I would have collapsed. I think faith is like that. When I have doubts, I try to close my critical eye and find the willingness simply to follow suggestions.


  1. The power of the mind is a great thing, Marcelle. Tap it for all it's worth. It's totally logical and reasonable to do so!
    I love that photo. Quite amazing.

  2. Now you are making the rest of us stroke survivors look bad. What an amazing metaphor for faith.