When was the last time you honestly believed in something?
On October 15, 1997, we called my dad from my house. He wasn’t living with us anymore. Well, I didn’t actually know that. He had moved to a hospital 20 minutes from our house on another one of those extended medical visits that he had been on several times in the past year.
"Happy birthday," he told me. I told him that even though I didn’t have a party this year, mom bought me cake. "I’m sorry I’m not there this year. I’m going to get out of this hospital and we can have a belated birthday party." I couldn’t wait. In my mind, I thought about all the places we could go, food we could eat, and what I would wear the day my dad came back home.
That might be the last moment I can recall ever truly believing in something so much, you thought your faith could move the earth.
Six days later, my brother and I spent the night at my aunt’s house because it was closer to the hospital. At 4 am, we woke to the sound of her bursting through the door in hysteria.
"He’s gone. My little brother is gone."
I don’t know if this failed promise took away the ability for me to ever be sure in anything in this world, but it sure as hell makes you think about how sudden life is, and that nothing - even if you believe in it with all your might - is permanent.
That isn’t to say that I’m a pessimistic person. I believe in the idea of love - though I’ll never know the extent of its power; I believe in the goodness of people - though you must have room to accept that not all things are perfect.
I’m not hopeless; I’m realistic. What you choose to believe in isn’t wrong. But life is a balancing act. Be prepared for changes, always.