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Explaining the unexplained with faith

It is a question that has been asked for as long as man has walked the Earth. It is a question that has been asked by astronomers, science fiction fans and the average human being for years. It is a question that has sparked movies, books, controversy and debate. It’s so simple yet so complex. Is there something out there larger than ourselves? Are we alone in this universe or is there someone/something out there that puts out a hand to help guide us.

Life out there is not merely a question of knowledge. It is a question of faith and belief in and of itself.

Why do we have religions? Why do we believe in ghosts? Do we really think that we are alone in the universe spiritually? This idea of who and what is out there spiritually differs depending on your religion, if you so choose to believe in one.

In a world that is powered on the waves of technology and science, it is easy to rationalize every single event that happens in this world to a scientific reason. That tree that fell in your yard and barely missed you didn’t miss you because the Fates decided that it wasn’t your time. Rather it happened because the crack in the trunk of the tree was at such an angle that the tree fell in a certain direction.

Well, that explains that. Or does it? While it is true that the tree fell due to gravity and mathematical angles, could there have been some unknown fate that determined that the tree would miss you by inches? We do not know. It hasn’t been proven that there could have been an unknown fate. However, it also hasn’t proven that there wasn’t an unknown fate involved.

There are some things in life that we cannot explain. Sometimes we know that there could be a rational explanation to an event, but we choose to believe that something beyond the nature of the world caused the event. This is what we call belief and faith – the idea that there is an outside force helping to shape the course of history.

I will admit that I do believe in the supernatural. I believe that there are lost souls who wander the Earth.

I believe in having faith. My faith is not perfect. I have even had times of doubt when my faith was shaken and issues that I disagree with concerning my faith. Still, deep down, I believed that there was a life after this one.

This past week, there was an event in my life that made me ponder again whether there is life beyond our humanly bounds. Unfortunately this event was the death of my grandmother, Dolores (Sweeney) Samms. My grandmother was a believer. Her faith was her rock. She stood with an open heart and accepted the fact that there was life beyond our understanding.

Throughout the summer, as we watched the cancer ravage her 75-year-old body, we knew it was simply a matter of when and not if. In the end, we all knew that she was ready to go and find peace.

When she passed away the night of Sept. 7, 2009 a strange thing happened. It was 10:40 p.m. I was lying in bed listening to music and reading, preparing for the first day of classes the next day.

Suddenly, I heard a loud thump. It did not sound like the usual house settling into the foundation thump, a car door or a tree falling. It didn’t even sound like the annoying squirrel that sometimes lives in my bedroom wall thumping around. I went downstairs to see if something had happened. Much to my surprise, neither of my parents had heard a thing.

No more than 15 minutes later, we received a call telling us that my grandmother had just passed away at her nursing home that she had moved into a few months before. We were told that she had passed at around 10:40 P.M. – the time of the thump.

Throughout her wake and funeral, the recurring theme was her strong faith and her willingness to believe in forces beyond the powers of Earth. On the back of a prayer card was a prayer that captured the essence of my grandmother. I would like to share it with you in her memory:

“God saw you getting tired; a cure not to be.

He put his arms around you and whispered come to me. With tearful eyes we watched you and saw you pass away, although we loved you dearly we could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating hard, working hands came to rest God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best.”

The force of faith is merely one dimension of belief. For me, it helped show that yes, there is life out there. This applies to all people of all religions and for anyone that has ever dared to believe that we are not alone.

Matt Kushi is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at mkushi@student.umass.edu. 

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