My best friend Manny loves to argue with me. I’ve known him since I was 5 years old. We met at school; St. Joseph’s a small catholic school in our town. Every Sunday, for as long as I can remember I have attended mass with my family at St. Joseph’s Church. It was in the Sixth grade I believe, probably during lunchtime when Manny and I had yet another argument, this time it hit me hard. He told me that he didn’t understand why I kept attending mass every Sunday, that he just didn’t understand our religion classes anymore either, and that he wanted to know why I still believed. I told him I have faith that why I believe. I told him I didn’t need to see it to believe it. Faith to me had been instilled long before I ever knew what it meant. I asked him why he lost his faith, he told me that he lost it during mass when it all just seemed outdated to him. We never spoke about it thereafter.
Faith has been a tricky thing. I still have faith that there is a God, and that he made everything, at times though my faith was tested. What with 9/11 and having to experience the loss of so many family members due to different illnesses, it was hard keeping my faith in God, and still harder keeping my faith in life. I still couldn’t shake the feeling though, I kept feeling warm every time I walked into church, even after losing my Grandma. It was comforting, that one thing never changed in my life, that small church still held in it my love for life and my love for my family, everything that God has given me.
However, my faith continued to be tested. August 2004 changed my life. My brother, the only one I have, was expecting his first child. We were so excited to have a new addition to our family, I was going to be an aunt, and my parents were about to be grandparents. Jayden, was supposed to be born in November but my sister-in-law went into labor the 1st day of August. Three months premature. Jayden was born not even weighing 2 lbs, and he spent 5 months in a hospital. He went through countless surgeries fighting for his life. Those 5 months put my whole family through trying times. Every Sunday after church we made our way to the hospital where Jayden stayed, that became our new routine. Every Sunday we prayed for this little miracle to pull through. We knew that even if he did, he might still have medical issues. We continued to have faith, and after holding him in my arms I knew he would be just fine, I had faith. We prayed to Saint Jude to keep him safe, Saint Jude was whom we had also prayed to while my sister-in-law was pregnant. Jayden was baptized Jayden Jude Chong-Qui. I believe in Faith.
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