Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Still

It was at the very end of the news articleI read this morning just after I had finished my egg, bacon, and green smoothie.  Two words that took hostage my mind. Faith crisis.

I immediately thought to myself, I don't want to experience one of those.

The article wasn't talking about those moments you might think it was…receiving a diagnosis of cancer, losing a loved one unexpectedly, finding out information that turns your world upside down immediately.

It wasn't talking about a crisis that turns your heart to God.  To Heaven.  To faith.

No, this faith crisis was talking about that moment when you turn your back on faith.  On what you believe.  On God.

I don't want to experience one of those.

I hear stories like that ––stories of a crisis of faith, of a turning away, and my heart breaks.

How could you walk away from God?

Just the thought of it fills my heart with longing, with loneliness, with a lingering hint of despair

and then I am reminded of a moment I experienced this weekend that I won't soon forget.

I watch her pick up a smooth gray stone, this woman whose gray hair curls soft.  Hands that have known the service of God, have performed it, cradle the rock…and she ponders.  I watch her as she ponders.  And then she picks up the black marker and begins to write one word.

With all my heart I wonder what word she has chosen.

This woman, whose life has been directed by God.

What will her step of faith be as she continues forward from this day, this moment?

I am intrigued by it.

But I am too far away to read the letters imprinted there.

And then I watch her stand and make her way to the front of the room.  To the line of women who have also left their mark on smooth gray stone.  Women waiting to drop their stone into the pile that is becoming a monument of faith.

Just before she leaves her stone there in the box I watch her approach the microphone.

"Perhaps I am one of the oldest here," she suggests.

I glance around at a room filled with women who recognize the sage who has begun to speak.  There is a hush.  A waiting…

And then this woman, whose gray hair curls soft, whose hands cradle the smooth gray stone, explains that her life has been a devotion to God, and that every step from this moment will be an echo of the steps that have gone before.

That she will remain faithful.

And then she holds up the gray rock with her one word carefully penned in thick black ink.

Still.

And I know I have just encountered a woman of devotion.  A woman whose every step will lead her closer to God.  A woman who has never experienced a faith crisis.  Who, in that moment, has committed that she never will.

And I vow, in that moment, to be like her.

That every step from this moment will be an echo of the steps that have gone before.

That I will remain faithful.

Still.

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Emily Freeman