In Other Words

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If you were to ask me what I believe in
I would answer in other people’s words.
It’s not that I don’t have any of my own
it’s just that it’s a lot easier to put faith in them
when they’ve been tried and tested.

Like words of Joseph Stilwell: ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down.’
and the words of Edward Fitzgerald: ‘This too shall pass.’
and Julian of Norwich, who said: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’
and Dory.
You know, the blue fish?
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.’
That one.
I’m not kidding.
That’s the great thing about personal faith.
you can put your faith in a royal blue tang
with short-term memory loss from an animated children’s film
and if that works for you
there’s nothing I can do to stop you.
Whatever works
for you.
Just don’t tell me that I can’t put my faith in clichés.

‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down.’
I learnt that in Latin, from my Dad
and while I am well aware of the potential
for class-based privilege and patriarchal nepotism in that statement
but I think you’ll agree that a little defiance never hurt anyone.

‘This too shall pass.’
I don’t pretend to understand the theology in that one
but it’s true.
This will pass.
Remember that.

‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and manner of things shall be well.’
I believe that.
And I’ll repeat it until you believe it too.

If you were to ask me what I believe
and tell me: ‘No cheating this time.
Use your own words.’
I would be speechless.
Or else, I would answer with a question.
What words do you put your faith in?
I’d like to hear them.

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