We know that stress kills.

Stress is subtle in its onset, but devastating in its long term-impact. Stress weakens the immune system, disrupts our digestive rhythm, interferes with personal interactions and wears us down. Stress-related illnesses ravage our population, as does our frustration with political gridlock that threatens our daily lives. What are we to do?

Traditionally, our beliefs and our faith have always served as viable resources in stressful times.

Faith, in all of its forms, is a solution. Faith practices links its participants with a community of like-minded individuals, united in a common purpose, to experience renewal and refreshment for the senses and the soul. Faith wrestles away the isolation and the loneliness that comes with another manifestation of stress: depression.

Faith confronts depression with hope, belonging and an affirmation of the individual with Divine Presence. Faith says to each person “You are not alone in life.”

A book named, appropriately, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” talks about recognizing the sacred in everyday tasks. This is how we begin to divert our energies from stress to renewal.

Faith does more than give people somewhere to go on the weekends. Faith gives encouragement by reminding us stressful times are not new: Humanity has survived challenges and hardships before and we can do it again.

We face every challenge and hardship with the conviction we do not traverse life alone. God goes with us.

Those experiences with God build on history and heritage. Our sacred writings and rituals are re-enactments of triumphs and victories; we are buoyed by our past shared successes. Stress will always fail in comparison to our victories through faith.

Faith is the answer to the stress in our lives. We should seek it in small daily ways and be renewed.

James Weathersby, Augusta

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