Emily Dickinson wrote a letter late in life to an acquaintance saying: “On the subjects of which we know nothing, or should I say Beings…we both believe, and disbelieve a hundred times an Hour, which keeps Believing nimble.”

Most of us have been conditioned and taught that our beliefs must be solid, intact, immovable, immutable, and irrefutable – or they aren’t worth believing in.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Consider nimble belief:


(via the near-ecstatic-and-deeply-spiritual experience of finding synonyms in the thesaurus)

Active belief
Adept belief
Adroit belief
Agile belief
Alert belief
Bright belief
Brisk belief
Clever belief (Nice, huh?)
Deft belief
Handy belief
Light belief
Lissome belief
Lithe belief
Lively belief
Proficient belief
Prompt belief
Quick belief
Quick-witted belief (Don’t you love this?!?)
Ready belief
Skillful belief
Sprightly belief
Spry belief
Swift belief
Vigilant belief
Wide-Awake belief (I’m especially partial to this one. Beautiful.)

And unnimble belief:


(via the equally-ecstatic-and-deeply-spiritual experience of finding antonyms in the thesaurus)

Awkward belief
Clumsy belief
Lumbering belief
Slow belief
Undexterous belief
Unhandy belief

Nothing more need be said, really.

Except perhaps this: To have nimble belief means that you hold things loosely. You question. You doubt. You wonder. You probe. You swirl in despair at times, and other times, in wild abandon. You live in places of ambivalence. And you do not demand answers. For you know that to do such inhibits your belief, not strengthens it.

It is easy to get things upside-down and backwards; to find yourself wrapped around an axle (or axiom) from which you cannot get loose. And sometimes, what you need to do is turn a thing on its head to see it in a completely different way, to gain perspective, to clear your brain of thick and foggy thinking that is oft’ handed-down, too quickly assumed, and rarely questioned.

What if you could have belief that didn’t rest in absolutes, apologetics, or affirmations; rather, in the unknown, the mystery, the vastness and unfathomableness of life? In an inexplicable and incomprehensible and infinite God? What if, indeed?

This is nimble belief.

Disbelieve (and believe) a hundred times an hour. With grace. With permission. With abandon. Wildly. Uncarefully. Freely. Over and over again.


May it be so.