While I have definite spiritual tendencies; while I believe in certain transcendent truths, transcendent realities, even a transcendent power, like the force in Star Wars as silly as that might seem; and while I dabble in Buddhism; my attitude towards religion tends to range from apathy to cynicism to anger and rage.
As much as I try to breathe and let my persistent thoughts drift on by, thoughts of the horrors religion has manifested throughout human history tend to stick around, right under the surface, ready to pounce at the slightest reference.
But, sometimes this cynicism can be cruel and coldhearted.
Enter Jake Finkbonner.
Finkbonner family prayed when Jake had flesh-eating bacteria
KIE RELYEA / THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
FERNDALE – His face was scarred by the flesh-eating bacteria that had invaded his body, her face by smallpox that killed her immediate family.
They are both American Indians and both Catholics.
And if the Vatican decrees that Jake Finkbonner’s survival is a miracle that can be attributed to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha’s help, they also will be bound by the canonization of the first American Indian saint in the Catholic Church.
Elsa Finkbonner certainly believes her 9-year-old son’s victory over necrotizing fasciitis is miraculous…
…Jake was fighting for his life after falling and bumping his mouth in the closing moments of a basketball game on Feb. 11, 2006.
Necrotizing fasciitis, or Strep A, invaded his body and bloodstream through that small cut, and the aggressive bacteria raced across his cheeks, eyelids, scalp and chest as doctors worked desperately to stop its spread.
To save him, each day they surgically removed his damaged flesh. And every day for two weeks, they put the boy, who was then in kindergarten, in a hyperbaric chamber at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle to deliver oxygen to his body to help quell the infection’s progression.
I have a son who is only two years older than Jake. If my son, transcendent truth forbid, were to be stricken with a flesh-eating bacteria, I would be devastated. Yet, I hear the faint voice of the cynic preparing to say something like, “How can these people believe this hocus pocus mumbo jumbo?!!”
No. I won’t go there. I won’t do that to this family, just as I wouldn’t want them to do that to me. I won’t be that wet blanket. I won’t cynically mock and dismiss the faith that brings meaning to their lives and a cause to celebrate this victory over a nearly unthinkable stroke of bad fortune.
My heart goes out to the Finkbonner family.