Sunday Columns: What faith might be

The reason I write is to share, to relate and reason and wonder out loud. The reason I read is to find a common ground, to learn about the world and those who exist here and to find out that I might not be so alone after all.

When I wrote about my dad’s survival from a major heart condition and emergency surgery last week, it was my way of connecting the dots, researching and sorting through my own feelings. I was terrified. I was grateful. I was nervous and worried and not breathing. I was on my knees.

And then I was alive. Alive with my family in the middle of the frozen North Dakota prairie.

Alive with my dad who means more to us in this world than we could truly understand before.

Before we almost lost him.

And now here we are. It’s been two weeks since he opened his eyes and declared he was living and every day we learn something new about what it means to be hopeful, to have faith, to wonder why and how and what next.

But I don’t really know what next, except that the cowboy is getting restless and we all prayed for this moment.  His sister took him to visit his aunt and uncle yesterday. Then we drove him to the badlands, my aunt, my little sister and I. We drove through those buttes with the window down a little and then stopped to take a walk on a paved trail through the campground before driving him back home in the sunset.

Since I got my dad back all of the the little things have become big things.

All the things I thought were so big have become much smaller now.

And I know I still wonder about all this.

Because I wrote his story and it was out there then, out there being read and shared and open for discussion. His story was seen by thousands of humans around the world. He received hundreds of comments and messages wishing him well, thankful that he was alive. Glad that we got our dad back.

Because some of them did too and they felt our joy and relief.

And some of them didn’t.

The week before Christmas one of my best friends was scheduled to deliver a baby. Their first. I visited her the month before and we took pictures and talked about names. We decorated the nursery and made plans for my next visit when she would have a little baby boy or girl in her arms. When she would be a momma.

The week before Christmas, as planned, my friend delivered a beautiful baby boy.

All he needed to do was breathe. To suck in the air of this world. To cry and scream with the shock of it all and their dreams would be fulfilled. Their prayers would be answered and life would move on.

But the baby didn’t take a breath. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t. No matter how hard they prayed.

A week before Christmas my friend met and lost her first child.

And I can’t shake this as I walk with my father down the paved trail in the badlands, bring him tea and sit with him as we watch t.v. or play the guitar and think about the months ahead when the snow melts and the earth greens up and we get back to work. Get back on the horses. Get back to life as our lunges fill with air and our hearts beat strong and alive within our chests.

How can a world be so cruel and so forgiving all at the same time?

We all have our own story. My dad has his. My friend has hers. And the only lesson I can take with me as I move through the days is that we just don’t know the plan. We don’t know how tomorrow might hurt us or make us rejoice.

And maybe I am grateful for that. Maybe I am scared as hell. I’m not sure yet.

But what I do know, what I have learned is that our pain, our struggles and our joy is not ours alone. And maybe that’s the only thing that faith can really provide for us after all.

The promise that we are not alone.

Sunday Columns

The day my dad lived
by Jessie Veeder
1/19/14
Fargo Forum
http://www.inforum.com

A happy life starts with what you do on the weekends
by Jessie Veeder
1/11/14
Fargo Forum
http://www.inforum.com

Life about laughter, not resolutions
by Jessie Veeder
1/4/14
Fargo Forum
http://www.inforum.com

18 thoughts on “Sunday Columns: What faith might be

  1. It’s the hard way to learn, that is certain – but I know now, as do you, that life is precious, the future is unknown, and we need to absorb every bit of joy and love that is in our worlds when we can – and we need to share that joy and love freely, openly, generously, because tomorrow may or may not come.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Beautiful. I’ve had these moments…who doesn’t eventually come up against the unevenness and uncertainty, the joy and the profound sorrow of life? But the bottom line, as you say: we are not alone. Blessings to your dad as he continues his recovery, and to you, as you continue to work out what it all means. I’m still trying to sort that out myself. Maybe that’s the point…to make us think, to make us grateful, to help us love in the face of all the frustrations of life. ~ Sheila

  3. I too have walked that walk with my father and my mother in law (whom I loved dearly). I did not get to do that with my mother…she died suddenly. I think this time is when we really grow up. We learn what is truly important in life and how to let go of the small stuff. The time we are given after we have learned these truths is truly precious time…not to be wasted…time to really know and love the special people in our lives. It is a blessing…

  4. Beautifully written. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring, what the plan is, and so best to rejoice in this very moment. How many times do we need to read this, hear it, before we do it.
    Blessings to you, your Dad, and family.

  5. Thanks for sharing this piece, Jessie. Once we experience those earth-shattering moments, we begin to see things in a whole new light. I know my universe will never be the same as it was before I lost my dad. And I know it is bound to change again one day. In the mean time, my heart goes out to the many people I know who are doing the best they can to take another step into another day of uncertainty. I think it is during those moments that faith carries us through.

  6. Good observation – the sudden flip flop of the big and little things. There seems to be a universal consensus that the flip doesn’t happen until there’s an event like your dad’s surgery.

  7. Beautifully worded. After Tyler passed away, I really realized the difference between “small things” and “big things” and how to live life as time can be short. I’m glad to hear your dad is doing well and is embracing life.

  8. I’m so glad to hear your Dad is recovering well!
    On a second note, having been where your friend is at. Give her love, support and encourage her to see someone to talk. There’s a good chance I’d have never made it without having someone to talk to whose been where I was at. Everyday can still be a challenge and everyday the thought of my daughter is with me. My thoughts, sympathies and strength go out to her & her husband. I hope they survive this TOGETHER. Not sure if you see our email address when you get these, but feel free to pass mine along if you wish.

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