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Keeping the faith

Sometimes you just have to believe things will work out.

Article by Kathy Xu

My friend had pretty much lost hope a postcard she had sent me on a recent holiday would ever reach me, especially since her other friends had received theirs weeks before.

"It must have gotten lost in the mail," she had said apologetically.

I, on the other hand, smiled and relaxed. Deep down, I believed I would see the card yet.

Sure enough, the day after speaking with my friend, there was the "lost" postcard waiting for me in my mailbox.

Faith — I hold on tightly to every ounce I can, because I have learnt that coupled with the hard work needed to make positive changes, I need to have faith in the work that I do trying to protect the dwindling shark population in Lombok, Indonesia, while finding more sustainable ways for the fisherman to earn a livelihood.

Things can get incredibly hard, and so much appears impossible.

Small victories

So with each success, no matter how small, like when I received that postcard against all odds, I am reminded of the power of faith to keep me smiling and fighting on.

In a world filled with damage and disasters, it is easy to over-intellectualise problems of the world, decide to remain a cynic, to not want to do something about it.

Sometimes that is the saddest thing that human beings can experience: indifference.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that people should blindly and irrationally believe in magic that can make things happen without hard work.

There is still a need to weigh the risks and to plough through the grind of doing the work. Without the passion to ignite belief, however, we may not progress as far as we can.

The point is that we have to keep doing what we can and let hope and faith take us those extra steps forward.

And yes, most times doing good is not black and white, but it doesn't mean we should stop trying and stop doing.

Guarding against indifference

I was on the train the other day and became frustrated because no one would offer an elderly man a seat.

I remembered only a week before when on the train with my grandfather how heartened I was by the readiness of people to give up their seats for him. Now barely a week later I was witnessing the opposite.

Why? Perhaps the seated commuters were distracted by the bright lure of their mobile phones, or perhaps they were over-thinking the decision to give up their seats or not.

But I wasn't too patient with my thoughts. The moment a lady left her seat, I threw my bag on it and walked over to the elderly uncle to ask if he would like to sit. I could have been embarrassed if he had insisted on standing, but his look of gratitude was what shocked me and made me thankful for doing what I did — chope-ing (reserving) the seat for him in my frustration.

What I am trying to say is that we can always think of the many possible ways things could go awry in the process of doing good or trying to do good, but if we don't even lift a finger to try and then keep the faith that problems will sort themselves out along the way, how then can we even begin to envision a better world?

Maybe it is time to stop over-thinking and just do already.