Faith. The complete trust or confidence in someone or something that is unseen.
On Tuesday night when Stella’s preschool got hit by lightning and burned down, it brought the idea of faith to the front of my mind and I couldn’t really pinpoint why. All I could pinpoint was that my heart felt a little shaky… like it might actually have fractured a bit.
The next day I mulled this uneasy feeling all day… it struck deep. Since moving to a new town we have not gotten back to Church and truly miss our old parish St. Joseph’s and our priest Father Ron. Yes, miss… like that feeling you have when your heart actually aches. So as a way to still be in touch with my faith I’ve turned to an App (yes an App!), its called “She Reads Truth” (and yes I highly recommend it). Right now we are being guided through a community study on “The Legacy of Faith” and in reading it this stood out to me “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
What did that mean to me? “Perfect. Complete. Lacking in Nothing”?
Well since moving I have to be honest I didn’t feel any of those things. I felt quite imperfect, I hadn’t found my groove, uncertain and lacking well…. my local tribe of close friends that have been together for the last 5 years. But my mind kept circling back to the idea of “faith”. Why?
On Wednesday I had dinner plans with my mom, so I dropped Stella off early and snuck out alone to see the burnt church, steeple in ruins and the remains of where my only child went to Nursery school for two blessed, innocent years.
In the time I spent staring at the shell of the majestic Baptist Church it struck me that that place was a place for me that I would walk by and stare at in my darkest times. That church whose steeple seemingly nearly touched the sky would be where my eyes would search when I brought my newborn for walks on blustery days when I felt so alone, so overwhelmed and so LOST. It’s pure white spire was so breathtaking that it made me gasp a little each time I looked up to it. It actually distracted me from myself and gave me hope in its history and beauty. My mind would wander… What stories had it seen? What storms had it weathered? How many other men and women had looked up to it so high in our sky in the last almost 200 years and have had their breath taken away too?
In the coming years that Spire would be the destination my toddler and I would walk to as many days as we could holding hands, picking flowers, singing songs and rustling leaves. You see, after those dark years my anxieties lifted and now Stella went to the most loving, perfectly idyllic nursery school in that Baptist Church. We walked to and from hundreds of times in those years. It was there and in those days my “faith” was renewed. Life would be ok. In fact it would be more than ok. Not only did Stella learn, love and meet the most special friends… I became a person again. I put down roots, and met women whose existence made my life so abundant and so happy.
That community and that sacred place symbolized so much:
In dark times look up to forget and remember there is a power greater than you.
When you pick up your baby from school or walk around Wakefield lake look up at that Spire against the bluest of skies and catch your breath.
In the winter nights laughing away the chill and watching your breath hit the cold air, look up and see the star and marvel at the magic of the season, and how great god truly is.
When the air is stagnant and you walk to your spot at the 4th of July parade you look up and notice the Spire is unwavering and steadfast and bold.
Then it hit me – I understood in that moment standing alone looking at the cranes crush the walls and windows of that church just why that word “faith” kept circling my brain.
Because in true Jen style I was having a delayed emotional reaction. I am finally mourning the loss of a community I loved. Missing my friends, wishing we found our neighborhood here … there, so we could have all the joy of living here without the saying goodbye to there.
Faith has to come in now. This is where I remember it will all be ok.
My years in Wakefield taught me that. That ancient church played a huge part in the backdrop of those days, and now I’ll hold tight in my steadfastness… believing that yes God has a plan. That faith perhaps will bring back “Perfect. Complete. Lacking in Nothing”.
Until next time remember ~
“Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”