Faith and Common Sense

December 8, 2009

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”  Maureen O’Hara shares this perception of faith with Natalie Wood, portraying her precocious daughter, Susan, in Miracle on 34th Street, my second favorite Christmas movie. (My first is White Christmas.) Faith is something parents of children with developmental disabilities know a lot about. When our children are young we have faith that the schools they attend and the staff who work with them will have their best interests at heart and know that all children have potential, but we are usually disappointed. As our children grow we have faith that their peers and neighbors will include them as respected members of their community and value the unique qualities that they bring to the world, but we are usually disappointed. As they become adults we have faith that the society in which our children will live out their days understands their needs and accepts our common responsibility to care for our most vulnerable citizens, but we are usually disappointed. Would it be better is we just listened to common sense instead of having faith? If we did, could we get through each day, each week, each year?


  1. Dear Mum of Lauren,
    I haven't "checked out your blog"...just read today's after being directed to it... Happily, we can say that our Jasmine... 9 year old grand daughter has lovely teachers.. but the rest of the community as well as my son's family's friends leave a lot to be desired.. will write after I've had a good read... Keep on keeping on... I'm guess you're in the US... we here in Oz... Edith (Omi of Jasmine)

  2. Dear Gail:

    This quote helps to sustain me when I am disappointed in the prejudicial or hurtful attitudes of people who see only the external and not the hearts of those they reject; I hope it helps you too!

    Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime;
    Therefore, we must be saved by hope.
    Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
    therefore we must be saved by faith.
    Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;
    Therefore, we are saved by love.

    Reinhold Niebuhr
    The Irony of American History (1952)

    Your friend,

    Diana A.