I pulled slowly, twisting my small fingers around the cream colored yarn that fringed my Mom’s pillow until the strand had completely worked its way out the side. The gaps were becoming more apparent now, but she let me keep pulling while I sat there, using the pillow as a seat cushion in the corner of our sofa. My knees were huddled under my Barbie nightgown as I peered up at my parents. My Dad, leaning against the edge of the coffee table, slowly leaned in, “Tor – Aunt Lois died last night.”
Death is inevitable. There is no way to escape it, nor a way to escape death’s grasp on the people we love. I was never particularly close with my aunt, and at the time the concept of death was lost to my seven years. All I remember was a hollow feeling deep inside and the realization that something, whether I recognized it or not, had been altered.
In my lifetime I have lost family and friends I love, and I have watched people around me endure their own painful losses. There never seems to be the right words to console – no words to connote the sadness. Yet despite this lack of words, there are five little letters that, when combined, produce a much needed sense of peace and reassurance that help me move on – FAITH. In the face of uncertainty, faith is the only thing that sustains me. It is my confidence, and my peace of mind. While I don’t know what lies ahead, I need to believe there is a greater power and purpose. I believe that with faith we are never really alone. Faith is a life force that surrounds me with love, an inner strength that touches my very core.
Faith not only helps me cope with death, but it graces me with courage in trying situations. On August 14, 2006, as I boarded American Airlines flight 101 to JFK from Heathrow Airport in London, I may not have had a carry-on suitcase but I definitely carried my faith along with my boarding pass. The high-alert terrorist threat pushed my apprehension of flying to a new level. Arriving at the airport my stomach was already churning and a clammy chill seemed to wash over my body. As the color drained from my face my mom leaned over and reminded me of her favorite prayer. Standing in line I recalled the few simple lines asking for the reassurance that I was meant to be on that American Airlines flight, leaving London at that time, under those frightening circumstances. “May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be, may you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.” My faith allowed me to step onto the plane without ever looking back.
Faith has as many meanings as there are people. Some see it as dumb luck, or pointless, or irrelevant when confronting a callus world. Others, like me, see faith as a source of quiet comfort when faced with the unfamiliar and unanswerable. Maybe faith is my security blanket, my protective shield against reality. Regardless, when life places me back on that, now fringe-less, Bermuda pillow, confronting the unknown, I can gather the courage to move on because with Faith, I can believe.
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