Upside Down is a blog that focuses on perspectives; always ready to allow the beautifully unique people, places, and experiences surrounding us to help us see situations with positivity, optimism, and hope.
When reflecting on how I wanted to write about faith through Leah’s perspective, the word “believe” continuously repeated itself in my mind.
Believe: “To accept something as true. To have confidence in the truth, existence, or reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.”
“Although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.”
The concept of God, the story of Jesus, faith. All of these things have been incredibly difficult for Leah to grasp. Any thought that requires abstract thinking, from the concept of time to the idea of Heaven, is hard for anyone to comprehend. For Leah, it is even more of a challenge.
Nevertheless, when I spoke with her on the phone and asked her, “Do you believe in the stories you have heard and read in the Bible?” Immediately, without an ounce of hesitation or pause, she responded, “Yes, yes I do.”
It’s that childlike faith that God yearns for. Although Leah is without absolute proof and battles the uncertainty that abstract thoughts yield, something inside her believes. Truly believes, regardless of evidence.
This can translate into so many areas of our lives, even outside of faith. When we encounter people, we must strip away the judgmental predispositions we have about them. Let them surprise us. Believe, and genuinely believe, that they have something beautiful to offer the world. That we can learn from every type of person in a positive way.
Around this time last year, one of my college acquaintances took his life. He was an immaculate man with an enormous heart who struggled with depression. After he was gone, I tried to look at the situation upside down. Where was the silver lining? I couldn’t find it.
After prayer and reflection, I finally found an answer. Thousands and thousands of people came together because of his situation. The outburst of love and support was overwhelming. My belief is that others who were in a similar situation sought help and guidance because of him. The things he did while on Earth were highlighted, which then inspired others to live more purposefully. Others who may have withheld their depression finally faced it, embraced it, and are living today better off. I believe his life, as well as his death, was anything but wasted.
Believe: “to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something.”
Goodness…ability. These are words of positivity that encourage me daily. How could I ever choose anything other than to believe? In others, in hope, in Jesus.
Leah grew up in the church. She went through confirmation classes alongside all of her age group, sang in the youth church choir, and of course, played piano at the Christmas Eve service. That said, the concept of death has always been difficult for Leah to try to understand, let alone discuss at all. She is immediately reminded of the sadness she has felt with each of our grandparent’s deaths. With the loss of one of her most special teachers to cancer. With never getting to watch another live performance by Whitney Houston. Because of this, the story of Jesus falls into that same category of “very difficult things to discuss.” For as many of us know, and regardless of the hope in His sacrifice, the story of Jesus involves death.
Despite the pain it brings Leah to think about death, God and prayer are in her spirit. The other day, without knowing what I was going to write about this week, she approached our mom with a list. On the list she had written down people she wanted to pray to God about. It was all of the people she knew who had passed away.
My mom asked Leah what she prayed about when she used her prayer list. She said it was, “to talk to God to talk to those people wherever they are and feel close to them again.” Through belief and prayer, she found a way to face the pain of losing those she knew and loved. “Wherever they are.” In that statement, Leah is acknowledging the abstract concept of Heaven. Through her prayer list, she is able to show that she understands that she won’t be able to fully understand. She believes, “although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.”
Matthew 18:4 “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Leah has inspired me to believe with more of a childlike faith, with the perspective that it is okay…in fact beautiful…to be naïve in my faith. It’s a perspective that I am forever thankful for, as the best is yet to come.
Here’s to turning our minds Upside Down.