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There are no guarantees in life, other than perhaps that it will involve pain, disappointment, and heartache. And yet we move day to day, hoping for the best, praying for heavenly intervention, and daring to love. Why is it that we continue to believe in miracles when the really big ones—the defeat of death, disease, or evil—rarely happen the way we sincerely believe we need?

In New York City, next to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Peace Fountain is central in a sunken plaza. The plaque on the base reads:

Peace Fountain celebrates the triumph of Good over Evil, and sets before us the world’s opposing forces—violence and harmony, light and darkness, life and death—which God reconciles in his peace.

Atop a pedestal, and perched on a giant crab (reminding us of the sea and struggle), Michael, the archangel, stands in triumph over the decapitated body of Satan, representing the eventual triumph of good over evil. The “pedestal is shaped like the double helix of DNA, the molecule of life.” Life and Death—the most basic of all perceived opposites. Much of the fears of life are centered on death. Data gathered from search engines reveal that the most common fears include: 1. Fear of flying (actually crashing), 3. Fear of heights (again, it’s the unplanned landing), 4. Fear of the dark, 6. Fear of death, and 9. Fear of spiders.

The plaque continues,

Facing West, a somnolent Moon reflects tranquility from a joyous Sun smiling to the East. The swirls encircling the heavenly bodies bespeak the larger movements of the cosmos with which earthly life is continuous.

Despite our fears, we cling to the belief that we are part of something greater, and that in the end, all will work out for our good; we believe that God and his angels will defeat Satan and all the ills he brings.

Nine giraffes—among the most peaceable of animals—nestle and prance about the center. One rests its head on the bosom of the winged Archangel Michael, described in the bible as the leader of the heavenly host against the forces of Evil. . . .Tucked away next to the Sun, a lion and lamb relax together in the peace of God’s kingdom, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah.

I recently added a new verse to my volume of favorite scriptures:

“But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” What more could we ask? Eternal life, and for now, peace: peace in our hearts that comes from finding, despite the pain, God is in charge and he is mindful of us. The peace from knowing, that, as we trust him and step forward into darkness with nothing but our faith to guide us, we will find our Savior there waiting.

The other part of the scripture that impresses me is the beginning: “But learn.” It is more than a promise, it is telling us we must find this truth for ourselves—we must have faith and take those steps into the chaos.

And someday, not only will we have the peace that comes individually into our hearts, but someday the world will have universal peace too. There is no water at the Peace Fountain, and yet it’s very name and design (“four courses of water [will] cascade down the freedom pedestal”) bears the belief that that day will come.

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