Friday, November 04, 2005

Epilogue: Faith in a Storm

Yesterday’s story about Luke is drawn in part from personal experience when I was 5 years old, except that I obviously didn’t die in the storm.

I did however sit in the big church on Sunday mornings. I was confused by adults crying in the big church and I did play in the playroom on Sunday evenings, and there was a destructive and angry storm with tornadoes one of those Sunday nights when I was five years old. The adults did run about in panic. I could see the storm outside the window I described, and I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t afraid for the exact reason that Luke wasn’t afraid.

This is the truth of having the faith of a child. It is a faith that is so internally hard wired that fear cannot overcome it.

Luke had a communion with the invisible. He had an understanding of the power of the invisible.

Fear could not divide him from his faith in things he had never seen. He wouldn’t let it be that way, because he had incorporated the idea that the power outside of him was greater than any fear that could live within.

I survived that night, but unless you live in this world with blinders you have known the tragedy of children being taken early in their lives. It’s hard to spend a lot of time stirring the brain cells on that issue because I think it is just too painful to think about for an extended period.

It does draw us into an exploration of faith.

Over the years we begin to understand that we cannot simply believe everything we are told, and that is a good thing of course, but the idea of a faith so strong that it is impenetrable remains to be admired. Placing your faith in the wrong things can be destructive so we must necessarily choose something wise to wind our faith around.

When anyone uses the word faith in our culture it seems to take on a religious meaning by default. That is alright and maybe even appropriate, but the word faith has many applications. We develop faith in our friends and family. Faith in what we can accomplish with genuine effort and confidence. Maybe it’s the faith that a larger power outside of you, that brings power we don’t understand, the invisible, will come inside when invited.

Because you have any hope inside you at all means there is a source of hope from an inspired origin. Isn’t it reasonable and even intellectual to assume that the hope inside you has a source? Can it come from nothing at all?

There are many areas of my life where I want the faith of little Luke. I want it again I should say.

With a personal history of teaching baseball to kids of all ages I learned early that they are remarkable sponges for information. They will absolutely believe what you tell them when they are five years old. That is an awesome responsibility for any adult to contemplate. I believed what I was told and Luke believed too.

The ending of the story is the way I want things to be. The pain of not knowing absolutely about these departed children drives me to write a story with an ending that absolves my pain, and makes Luke safe and unaffected in any way.

With plenty of options available to me on how to think about this, I will stick with my long ago accepted faith on this one.

Remember the children always believe you, even many, many years later.

They rarely distinguish the wise instruction from the faulty instruction.

So, be careful with the little Luke’s in your world, and never underestimate their faith.

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