laura packardI am a religious person, but then again, I’€™m not. The best at it, that is.

It’€™s always been a major struggle for me to define how I feel, think, worship, believe to my core because . . . everything . . . is constantly evolving.

More like spiraling, as thoughts etch and sketch their own way out into the unknown, trembling always and trailing towards a mismatched mess of togetherness like a comet’s tail; smoky charcoal at first but then bright bursts of endless color followed by erasable ink. The more and more I learn . . . the more and more I unlearn . . . if that makes any sense.

But I keep trying. And I’€™m fine with that.


I, we, hope with all of our heart of faithful hearts that faith is just that: the simple act of letting go. To. Just. Trust. Or translation, when questioning the very power of a higher power, one must accept, or learn, to make sense of senseless things. And in doing so, reach a certain kind of peace.

Only like the actual red and white buttoned toy from my youth, the actual Etch and Sketch, it doesn’€™t matter how many times or how hard you shake it, traces of what was remains.

Ten years ago, this fall, I stood in a prayer circle at my daughters’ school. A fifth-grade girl, three years older than my oldest, had been diagnosed with an inoperable and aggressive brain tumor. I never really truly prayed . . . prayed. In church, yes. Kneeling, standing, the offering, the Lord’s Prayer, Communion. Only, this time, I told myself I was going all in. I was going to stand there raw and unworthy and ask, no beg, God to heal this precious girl. With all of my being, and every voice I could conjure. Because This. Was. Not. Fair. I was the lucky one. I could go back home and tuck my perfectly healthy daughters into their perfectly snug beds. There was one thing potent that rained on me as if a sieve of dust and unwariness; it was guilt.

Not that my girls would suffer the same fate but that I was actually reminded that they were okay and alive and thriving and would not have to endure that pain. And even more selfishly, nor would I.

Connor would be almost 21 now. Old enough to have had many firsts that she never had the chance to fulfill; a kiss, a boyfriend, homecoming, college, a heartbreak or two, great love.

Why do we wait until we feel despair to feel alive and then guilty all at the same time?

Hurricane Matthew was something we had not witnessed in a long while and then came Harvey and Irma and Maria that ruthlessly took down communities, towns, islands and left people dead and homeless, in the dark with absolutely nothing and afraid. We checked our homes, or neighbors. Some of us breathed a sigh of relief because it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We were alive and stuff is just stuff after all.

I saw a replica of Lady Justice recently. The blindfold, the scales, the sword. We are told justice is supposed to be blind and swift and equal. Like a great and formidable god.

Why isn’€™t life then?

But therein lies that tricky thing called faith. Trust. And it will all be okay in the end.

Only I believe, we should always yes, trust, but also try our best TO make sense of senseless things and lift however we can those that need us with every resource we have even if all we have is prayer.

In the end, hope is help. And help is peace.


My prayers and many more are with you, my beloved Puerto Rico.