A Man of Faith

A photograph Jim took while hiking with our daughters (c) 2008

In The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai wrote: “The passionflower was a glorious bizarre thing, each bloom lasting just a day, purple and white striped tentacles, half sea anemone, half flower—all by itself, it proffered enough reason for faith.”

My husband described himself to one of his sisters as a man of faith, if not necessarily of  ceremonies of the church into which he was baptized.

At his “Closing Ceremonies”–a name my husband created when asked by hospice personnel whether we had “made arrangements” (one of the fuzzier euphemisms we heard, although everyone immediately knows to what that term refers)–the Reverend discussed how each of us can pursue our journey on our own terms: “God understands.  God is big enough for that.”

As one of my favorite authors’ characters noted, “As the poet said, the pine trees may wave at the sky, but the sky does not answer.  It doesn’t answer men either, even though most of them have known the right prayers since they were children, the problem is finding a language that god can understand.”[1]  I think Jim found that language, whatever the nature of what may lie beyond.

When I held our first newborn son and touched his cheek I asked Jim if it made him believe in God.

No, he said, in his matter-of-fact way; it was but one of the things which every day confirmed his faith in life, in marriage, in family, in hope, in love–each of them to him a miracle of its own and on its own terms.


[1]   José Saramago, The Elephant’s Journey (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010), p. 175.

(c) 2012 Stephanie M. Glennon

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