Taking Turns Keeping the Faith

This morning I was up at 4:30am. Not unusual these days. Although it’s generally a good hour to keep outside stimuli at bay and focus on writing or meditation, since Sam’s been in the hospital, I tend to go straight to FaceBook.

Yeah, she’s still in there. In the hospital not Facebook. Then again, from my perspective (2500 miles away) she’s in Facebook, too.

Her experiences are not mine to publish here (any more than I already have). So I’m limited in the way I tell this. But today she taught me something that feels big. It feels important. I don’t know if it’s possible to explain it, but I’ll try.

She mentioned losing faith and actively avoiding having faith. I took “faith” to mean the idea that her situation will improve –that any situation will improve. This 16 year old has been through a lot (!) of suffering–emotional and physical suffering–for two years running. The spiral lately has been incredibly challenging.

Ordinarily, when I think of someone losing faith or not having faith, my reaction (if only in thought) is to try to figure out how to get them to feel better.

Today, I realized that’s the wrong approach. It’s impossible. And it’s a disregard for the reality that the person is going through. Granted, some “realities” need to be disregarded; sometimes people do need to learn how to shift their perception. But now I see that sometimes, a loss of faith is a natural consequence.

Circumstances do break us.

There is time when we are broken that stands alone before healing starts.

This time has value.

Dear Sam,

No one can expect you to have faith right now. Reject it! Ball it up and throw it out. Stomp on it, scream at it. It has betrayed you.

But know this: we’ll keep your faith alive for you. I’ll hold a bit of it (like a little flame), and your parents will hold some, and your grandmas and grandpas will each hold some, and Aunt C and Uncle B and R, and R, and A, and Mrs. P, and M (and E & B), and Coach S, and Mr. A, and Coach K and Ms. T, and DM and DS, and C and almost everyone you know, we’ll all hold little parts of your faith for you.

We’ll keep it safe.

We might try to show it to you once in a while. You can spit at us if you feel like it. But we will hold firmly to what is yours. And most of us will never leave your side.

Someday you’ll be ready to take little bits of it back. You’ll feel capable of holding minute slivers of it yourself. But you don’t need to try to imagine that day right now if you don’t want to. Just be where you are. Feel what you feel. It’s okay to have these feelings.

Thank you for teaching me this. Thank you for letting me hold a bit of your faith. I know I’ll probably need you to hold mine someday.


Aunt Ruth

One thought on “Taking Turns Keeping the Faith

  1. Great post. Sometimes I also feel like everyone might tell you to hold strong… but sometimes I just think that it is okay to break down and to be mean and to be mad and to wallow in self pity. Maybe stretching out on the floor and kicking and screaming might help too. Maybe there is some value in “letting it all out.” It sure sounds like she earned some time to scream.

    However, for the times being, I am remaining upbeat… and keeping the faith.

    Thanks, Mindy, for so much. Your light is shining. :) Too bad those hospital floors or so icky, b/c getting down and banging the tiles does sound cathartic.

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