This afternoon as I walked my dog, Maggie, down to the lake for her constitutional, a murder of crows cawed overhead. In the relative silence away from the dishwasher swooshing and the roomba chugging and the clothes in the dryer banging, I pondered how living itself requires a huge act of faith, or really, many small ones.
The flowers reach up to the sky, simply expecting what they need – sunshine and rain. The crows caw, talking to each other about the trees and the weather and the girl walking her dog, a dog now curled up at my feet as I write, safe in the knowledge that I’ll feed and care for her.
It’s only people who require faith, and it’s easy to lose. Believe me, I know how hard it is to have faith that things will turn out okay. But we need to hold on to it, especially in our dark hours. We need to have faith that we’ll come out stronger, even when our lives are falling apart due to divorce or illness, or when our lives are falling into a new pattern, thanks to a baby on the way or a new job.
I haven’t read anything about the tornado in Oklahoma; it’s just too depressing. But what little I’ve seen confirms how much faith those people had as the storm bore down on them, and how much surrounds them now. A teacher who said she prayed as she huddled over her students. A woman whose missing dog poked its head out as she was being interviewed on the news. All of the people who have rushed there to help – all with the faith that they can rebuild that city – and its many lives – out of the devastation.
This past weekend, I drove to South Carolina and helped my aunts and uncles clean out my grandmother’s apartment in preparation for her next move in the nursing home.
It was always my Grandmother’s wish that her family be given her things while she was still alive, and thankfully, that is the case.
As I drove home, I thought about the 78-year-old desk riding in the bed of the truck behind me, wrapped in a blanket and covered with a tarp. (This ————>
is a photo of the foot. They truly don’t make them like that anymore.) When my great-grandparents bought the desk for their 16-year-old daughter’s birthday in 1934, during the depression, I’m sure they had faith that she would do well in her schooling. And she did; she was the first woman to receive a degree in Physics at what is now the University of Ohio.
But I wonder if they ever imagined that their great-granddaughter would someday be writing about it. I wonder how far their faith extended. And how far does mine extend? As I have no children, I have no idea who will get this treasure after me. Perhaps my cousin’s sons? I just hope that whoever gets it after me (50 years from now!) will care for it as much as her forebears did.
And finally, here’s a poem on the subject that I wrote almost 20 years ago, with my hope that you will keep the faith, no matter how difficult it seems.
What an act of faith it is to go to sleep
And trust that in the morn you will awake
And find the world the same as when you left —
Mere hours lost, but things still in their place
You laying in the bed in which you slept,
The covers all entwined around your legs
The furniture the same — if with more dust,
The windows wide to let in light of day.
The birds outside all chirping to the sun ——
What an act of faith it is to go to sleep.
© D. Savannah George, March 1994