Faith is the Thing with Scales

Faith is a slippery thing.

Emily Dickinson calls Hope, “the thing with feathers.”* She says that Hope is like a bird that sings in your heart without stopping and without expecting anything in return.

If Hope is the thing with feathers then Faith is the thing with scales. Faith is the eel that wriggles out of your grasp. It’s that shard of eggshell trapped in slimy eggwhites that slips from your fingertip or right over of the lip of your spoon every time you try to isolate it.

Faith is rubbing alcohol with its sharp ammonia scent, disinfecting you of cynicism and doubt but then evaporating off of the warm surface of your skin and fading into thin air faster than you can catch it.

Faith is Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord through the long, dark night. It’s trying to hold onto something enormous when you have such small hands.

But, like Jacob, there are brief moments when I do capture Faith and grasp it tight in my two hands. Like Jacob I say, “Don’t leave me! Or if you have to go, then mark me. Leave something of yourself with me so I can look at it and know that you are real. So I can remember this time that I caught you and looked into your eyes. So I can believe that I will find you again and again, even as you slip through my fingers.”

I am leaving for vacation tonight and will be traveling for the next two weeks with sporadic internet access so I will probably be slow with responding to messages and putting up new posts for the next few weeks. The first 52 Weeks of Adventure link-up is still open. Click on the button at the bottom of the post to add your link or to view links that others have added. 

Image Credit: Jennifer O’Kelly on Flikr


“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


  1. Faith is like Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord……..

    In the season that I am this really spoke to me and encouraged me! God bless you.
    And may He protect you on your vacation!



  2. Hear you so clearly in this post , faith is for me also so enormous that my hands are often too small to grasp and like you I hope to keep having the chances of having glimpses of it within my reach , just adored the ways you have described everything here , great reading , thank you. Happy Days to you Kathy.


    1. Thank you, Kathy! I love hearing how you related to this. I’ve often struggled knowing people for whom Faith is such a solid thing when it’s always felt so difficult for me to pin down and keep close. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it anyway. 🙂 I actually love to hear that people who don’t necessarily share my faith could still relate or appreciate my posts. I often learn things from people who don’t share my faith or my views and I would love to do that for others. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What lovely words you put to something that rings so true for me. The post is especially timely for me right now since I’m reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s book about learning to walk in the dark. We talk so much about the easy things, so I really appreciate it when people delve into the less pretty parts of life.


    1. I’m so glad you could relate to this! I have Barbara Brown Taylor’s books on my kindle right now and am looking forward to reading them soon. I think so much of real life is the gritty bits – how can we live a full and whole life if we refuse to talk about those?


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