Friday begins the month of October. One of my favorite months of the year. My birth month, as it happens. Halloween, my second favorite holiday. And the month that several friends and family members were born.
It is also the month I lost my mother five years ago to Alzheimer’s. The month we will lay my mother-in-law to rest this year. The month my husband was to have one last big surgery on his formerly good leg last year to finally get his life back. The month his heart arrested from complications after that same surgery. The month we knew he would never see his thirty-ninth birthday even before we pulled the plug because he was already gone.
After all was said and done, I sang some words that were once etched on the inside of a wall far across the ocean by someone who endured a far worse hell than any I can imagine: I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when God is silent.
Brad and I first came across these words when our best friend introduced us to them through the same song I sang that day. We learned them well as we ourselves were enduring our own first real trek through the underworld. And yes, though our personal hell was quite different than the author’s, the song still had remarkable significance for us.
Partially because of its movement. You see, it rises and falls like waves. The song begins with a single voice like the dawn breaking on a new day. Then it swells into a haunting harmony that fills any space it enters, much as love rolls over us like a tide that overtakes all in its path. It is beautiful and heartrending. And then… then, the world falls beneath your feet. As the music drops to one voice again. Almost silent. Quiet but certain.
It was my husband’s favorite song he ever sang at church. For many reasons, quite honestly. Some of them, I don’t even fully know.
For me, that song is faith summed up. It is what it feels like. Wonderful. Beautiful. Daunting. Bright. Challenging. Soaring. Cacophonous. Hushed. Manifest. Ever-expanding. It is all those things at different times and sometimes all at once.
What I will say, as I enter into what will undoubtedly be one of the hardest and one of my favorite months of my life, as I myself pass my thirty-ninth birthday, is that faith is precisely what I am holding onto. Waves will come. The floor will fall out. And I may crash. Nevertheless I am certain that nothing will ever separate…