Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Photo by Botwinik

Ever felt like all you needed was a little more faith and you'd be able to do anything, including walking on water? I do. In fact, I believe it's my faith that keeps me from walking on water. Not because I don't believe in anything, I just don't believe enough.

For example, my grandmother's church taught me that if I only had faith the size of a mustard seed, I could do anything (...through Christ who strengthens me...), but that only Jesus could walk on water. Isn't that contradictory? Can I do anything or not? Oh, I see... if I have enough faith I can do anything. So since I can't walk on water, the only answer is that I don't have enough faith.

Now faith is a pretty generic thing. Faith in what? Faith in God, faith in myself, faith that when I walk out of my front door and step off the step that I won't fall flat on my face? (I've done this, it hurts.) So how much faith do I need and in what do I need the faith to be able to walk on water. I'm focusing on the water-walking because I think it would be a cool thing to do.

But maybe water-walking isn't necessary. After all, I had all the faith in the world as a little girl that one day I would grow up to have a beautiful daughter of my own. And one day I did exactly that. I had a beautiful daughter that is lucky to walk at all. Born with spina bifida, she came straight out of the womb and went right into a thermal bed in the pediatric ICU, where she spent the first week of her life. By the time she was 24 hours old, she had undergone major back surgery, and by the time she was 5 weeks old, she had had a shunt put in her head (does that count as brain surgery? I didn't care enough at the time to ask the surgeon...). Even with all of these obstacles to overcome, the girl is beautiful, both inside and out.

She accepts who she is and has faith that she's everything that she's supposed to be. Wow. I don't have that much faith; I'm still trying to figure out who I'm "supposed" to be. She has faith that she can do anything she sets her mind to (and she can, too. That's how she managed to learn how to walk in spite of therapists and doctors telling me she never would.) I had doctors tell me after a particularly bad car accident that I'd never run again, and I had family members drill that fact into my head "for my own good", so one day I decided they must be right, and quit trying to run. Two reconstructive surgeries later (still needing a third), I won't even try to run; I have no faith that I'll ever be strong enough to do that again.

My daughter doesn't know these constraints. One reason is because when my well-meaning family was telling me not to push her, I fought for her right to push herself, which she did. I never told her "go learn how to walk", I just never told her "you'll never walk, so quit trying."

Now I don't know why she was born with spina bifida, how she's managed to accept her lot in life and walk head held so high, or where she concreted her faith. But I know that she is a miracle in every scientific and religious sense of the word, and I can give you agnostic, atheistic, and Christian character references to prove it.

As for walking on water, if it really only takes enough faith, then that little girl is closer than anyone else I've ever known. Maybe she can teach me....


Ginevra Fanshawe said...

I haven't been able to check in for a few days. This post moved me to tears. Your love and admiration for your daughter are so fierce and pure and strong. You make me admire her, and you also make me envy her---for getting to grow up with that kind of love in her life.

I think that's the answer, by the way, to where she gets her faith in herself: from you.

Margo Crawford said...

Thank you.

Ginevra Fanshawe said...

I hope with all my heart every minute of the day that I can bring my own kids some of that faith. My parents, through no fault of their own I'm sure, didn't manage to give it to me. So I know it could go either way for us.

When did you start using your real name? (If that is in fact your real name?) What is it like writing without the mask?

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