Over the course of my “vacation,” I received two other reflections on “Why Faith Matters.” Here’s one from Kerri (Wadzita) Clark, a Seminarian on her internship in Boone, NC (she attends Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA). I’ve known Kerri and her family for several years now…and faith definitely runs through and through them – essential, like the air we breathe.
Faith, to me, is like breathing. Essential, but not always conscious. There are certain times that my breathing is thrust into the center of my attention, like at times when I’m swimming laps and the distracting things are all blocked out. Instead, my focus is on a pattern – stroke, stroke, turn head, breath. Other times my breathing is less labored, such as when I’m falling asleep, and I take deep breaths just for the curiosity of feeling how big my lungs will go. Still other times my breathing is joined with others’, such as in choir, when breaths are noticeable for their absence of sound, and we are all one breathing unit guided by the director.
My faith is this way, too. Sometimes it’s just me. I look at a sunset, at a storm, and feel God’s majesty. I hear sad news of a professor’s diagnosis with brain cancer and have the freedom to ask why and the comfort to not always need an answer. I read Scripture and reflect on hymns and check in with God every so often to see if this calling to serve God’s people as a pastor is still where I need to be. Other times, really most times, my faith functions as one breath among many. I pray and read and recite and sing alongside others, some who I know well and others I’ve yet to meet. I share work and conversations that open me up to so many new stories, and even when we aren’t specifically talking about God or religion or salvation, that’s still part of it.
I can’t imagine life separate from faith; it’s like breathing. I don’t know why I was raised in the family I was. I don’t know why faith “stuck” even through the tricky growing-up-and-exploring years. But I know that God loves us, and that I’m blessed to learn new ways to share that and also receive it from others. My faith is not something I’m conscious of all the time, but, like breathing, it gives me life.