Faith is like a lover you’re separated from in wartime, someone back home who keeps your picture on the dresser and lights a candle for you every night.

Faith is the partner you long to be reunited with, the reason you went to war, the one who believed in you and promised to wait, even when you left to join this crazy volunteer army, even when your marching orders sent you on what seems sure to be a suicide mission.

You’re somewhere overseas now, separated from faith by an ocean of obligation and threat, and the picture in your bunker is definitely worse for the wear: the edges are curling in the heat and its smiling image is faded by the ongoing assault of elements out of your control: the deoxygenated atmosphere of necessity, the barometric pressure of loss, the relentless advance of the enemy as it ravages the trenches of your mind, lobbing mustard gas and threatening a dirty bomb.

You wonder if you’ll ever see faith again, and how you’re going to explain yourself if you do: you think that even if fate sees fit to bring you home, you’ll be unrecognizable.

You lie staring at the picture, which despite this worldly damage still captures something of the original. You marvel at its innocence, at the purity of its intentions, and feel tears running a clean line down your own camouflaged face—a tiny river of love and connection to everything you hold dear. The enemy’s artillery goes suddenly quiet; even sniper fire seems to be suspended, silenced by the moment’s grace.

About Barbara Sullivan

Writer, editor, teacher, introvert, contrarian, union thug
This entry was posted in Faith, Identity, Love and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Silenced

  1. odiousghost says:

    Gosh that’s nice! Really resonates with me too, as I’m currently a long way from my ‘faith’! Thanks!

  2. tempestletrope says:

    I haven’t been conventionally religious in many years, but I had a kind of faith in the Great Something. I lost that faith when my father died three years ago. I think I am regaining it slowly, but the form is different.

    • I love your term “the Great Something,” which certainly seems big enough to accommodate any kind of relationship, including a distant one. I understand the pain of losing a father, and how that can feel like a double abandonment if it happens in some way that’s hard to accept. Healing and grieving are wave phenomena; I’m glad to hear the tide seems to be changing for you.

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