“Your faith must be bigger than your fear.”Anonymous

Over the years I’ve read and heard scores of definitions of faith, but I personally don’t believe any one of them has ever described it more beautifully and succinctly than the affirmation of faith scrawled on a cellar wall in Cologne, Germany. It was discovered in a partially destroyed building shortly after the devastation and holocaust of the second World War:

“I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I feel it not. I believe in God even when He is silent.”

I’m not certain it was ever determined who had written those words inside the basement of that old dilapidated structure, but it was undoubtedly a man or a woman of undeniable faith.

Faith is one of those things that’s not easily defined but people generally know it when they see or at least feel it.

It certainly seems it is times like these when people all around the globe are fighting a terrible invisible enemy that is invading us without regard to age, gender, geography or socio-economic class, that our faith becomes real to us — or not.

Once while I was alone on vacation, I was walking around a quaint little village enjoying the warmth of the bright sunshine. At the end of a county lane, I spotted a very old but inviting church. Ever nosey and snoopy, I pushed open the heavy wooden door and went in.

Curiously, I couldn’t see a thing. It was as if I had entered into total blackness.

Carefully, I edged forward, guided by the long pews for a minute or two until my eyes grew accustomed to all the darkness. Gradually, I was able to see a small altar, the wooden pulpit and a flowering plant displayed on a small table. Soon everything in that centuries old church became clear.

It occurs to me that is exactly how some of us find our faith. We come in out of the darkness that has filled our lives and little by little we find our purpose in something that was once obscured.

We hear about taking a “leap of faith” or, as someone once described it, “trust without reservation.” Faith, while hosting different meanings for everyone, is vital in life even if it is not in a religious sense. We can talk about having faith in our leaders, our institutions, or simply and perhaps most significantly faith in ourselves.

Early 20th century author Horace Traubel may have illustrated it best with these compelling words: “Fear is lack of faith. And lack of faith is ignorance and fear can only be cured by vision… Open all your doors and windows. Let everything in and out, out and in. Even the evil. Let is pass freely in and out, out and in. No man hates the truth…make the truth easier than a lie. Make the truth more welcome than its counterfeits. Then man will no longer be afraid; being afraid is ignorant. Being ignorant is being without faith.”

It goes without saying that our faith will always overcome our fears. Choose faith!

Mike Fitsko is a retired principal and longtime columnist from New Braunfels.

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