The Long and Winding Road to Trust

A few weeks ago, before our children left for college, we set out on a journey up the mountain to find Trust.  Nothing unusual about that—seeking Trust has been a constant in my life, whether it’s trust in God or simply learning to trust other people.  But this time, we were looking for Trust, North Carolina.  Specifically, we were looking for St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope, appropriately located in Trust.

St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope is no ordinary church—it was built to thank God for a miracle.  In 1981, Beverly Barutio was diagnosed with advanced cancer.  She underwent many rounds of chemotherapy, but the cancer progressed rapidly.  So she stopped the chemotherapy and prayed for a miracle.  She prayed to God and St. Jude, the saint of hopeless and impossible causes.

Her prayer was answered.  Later checkups showed no signs of cancer.  In gratitude, after she and her husband moved to Trust, they built St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope, which is open to everyone 24 hours a day.  She wanted not only to thank God and St. Jude, but to provide a place where people could meditate and pray for their own miracles.  And, like most folks, I do have my own seemingly hopeless causes. 

After a long and winding journey up the mountain to Trust, we found the tiny, but lovely little cedar chapel.   We were pleased to have it to ourselves as we stepped inside.  The sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows lit the interior with an ethereal glow.   We sat down in front on one of the small pews and left the door open, so we could hear nothing but the sound of the rushing creek outside and birdsong. 

In the front were a cross, an open Bible, and a shrine to St. Jude.  Around the shrine, people had placed various items that obviously had meaning for them—seashells, rocks, pinecones, photographs, and even small toys.  As the four of us sat in silence, I was suddenly and unexpectedly overcome with emotion and began to cry.

It surprised me to be so overwhelmed, but I think it was because I could truly feel the power there…of so many prayers made, so many longings (expressed and unexpressed), so much hope, but so much sadness.   The very air inside felt holy, charged with the sacred spirit of all those who had made their hearts vulnerable there. We all felt it, I think, and sat there, without words, for at least a half hour, lost in thought, in memories, in grief, and in our own supplications to the Saint of Lost Causes and to God.

Perhaps you’re wondering if we’ve seen our own miracles since.  Well, just the usual everyday sort.  You  know, the moon rising over the mountain, the seven bluebirds sitting in a row on the fence, or the daisies that have bloomed nonstop in our fields since April.  But none of the hopeless-cause-variety miracles.  Not that we can see, anyway. 

But still I hope, still I trust, still I believe, and still I struggle to hope and trust and believe.   Like Beverly Barutio, I trust in something greater than myself, something more powerful than we can imagine.  I turn towards the narrow shaft of light streaming in the window and follow it, knowing there is a greater light beyond.  A light that illuminates my pilgrim path in the darkness as I seek and follow it.   A light that gives me hope in what I cannot see.

 

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

 Hebrews 11:1

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18 Responses to “The Long and Winding Road to Trust”

  1. wesleyjeanne Says:

    Simply beautiful, Beth. As always…but this time, even more so.

    I do hope your visit to Trust went a small step toward healing your spirit.

  2. Clara Melvin Says:

    That must have been an awesome experience at St. Jude’s Chapel Of Hope. What a good story on this day when I am feeling a little bit down. Thank you for lifting my spirit.

  3. June Says:

    I’d not heard of the town or the chapel…I was moved by your eloquent words telling of your visit…

  4. Judy Says:

    I have never heard of this place either, Beth. It is such a pretty little place and such a wonderful story you told about your visit there. I loved this post and the pictures.

  5. Jeff Says:

    I spent a few days at a Zen Buddhist retreat about a year ago and while meditating, tears started streaming down my cheeks. It was an incredibly calming experience. To say that it was unexpected is an understatement, but I just went with the emotion and felt so peaceful. It is hard to describe ….

  6. Going Crunchy Says:

    Absolutely beautiful post Beth. Loved it! Shannon

  7. CountryDew Says:

    Faith can be a powerful feeling. I loved your description of your trip.

  8. Benjamin Says:

    I’m so glad that you could feel that presence. I’m just now learning how to stay quiet enough to hear it…

  9. marion Says:

    Thank you for a much-needed reminder that we are not alone. What a beautiful little chapel, and how eloquently you described your visit there.

  10. Siria Says:

    What a beautiful post! You were mentioned over at Blue Ridge Dreaming and I thought I would come over and check out your blog. I can see why you were nominated for the blogasheville Best Writing award! You are an incredible writer and I really enjoyed parusing your blog. Good luck and I will be back to read more in the future.
    I hope I can go and visit this lovely spot one day.
    Thank you.

  11. colleen Says:

    This reminds me of when Joe and I visited St. Bridget’s Well in County Claire, Ireland and makes me want to post pictures. People left mementos and prayers as the sweet water filled the well. I was very moved. Here’s one shot I found online.

    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_3wdEmy3fi9U/RlrUXdI5AgI/AAAAAAAAAQ4/xNUYxQ-4hCY/IMG_5087.JPG

  12. mike valentino Says:

    That’s a beautiful story and a beautiful little church.

  13. Kathy Blackburn Says:

    Thanks for sharing, very beautiful!

  14. cyndilou Says:

    I also was fortunate to find this sweet little chapel at the fork of Luck and Trust NC. I don’t make the trip without stopping.

    I am planning my weddiing next year and would love nothing better than to have it at Hope Chapel.

    Would you know who to contact about the chapel?

  15. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Just wanted to mention that when Cyndilou originally commented, I wrote her to recommend that she contact the folks at the Trust General Store (which is in sight of the chapel). I believe they may be able to help. I never heard back from her, but I thought I’d post this in case it might help others.

  16. Mary Says:

    I visited the chapel while returning from visiting family in Nashville TN. There was a plastic jug of Lourdes water there. I visit the shrine at Lourdes every year for the International Military Pilgrimage. This year’s pilgrimage will be 20-22 May. I will bring more water when I return in July.

  17. Tammy Robinson Says:

    I had the privlage of visiting this beautiful little chapel yesterday on a motorcycle ride with several biker friends, It was lovely & very nice to have a moment of thanks for the beauty around us and I truly love the saying on the wooden cross ~ that says { Fear not Tommorrow for GOD is already their } I dident know the story of why it was their, now i appreciate it so much more !!! What a peaceful place . I will stop their again soon. thanks for the story. Tammy

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