Flying is believing

By The Columbia Chronicle

The battle between fact and faith is present in any human’s mind. Now and then, we all doubt faith because of fact and we may even deny the facts when they conflict with our faith. Both facts and faith are learned throughout our lives. There is no such thing as a “built in” conception of fact and faith. We learn our faith through our family and friends, while our knowledge of facts develops with life experience and education.

As a child, I was taught that facts can never be more important than faith. I learned that faith could move mountains, could heal the sick, could give sight to the blind, could make the deaf hear and make the mute speak. I also learned that faith is not the answer or the solution to our problems. Faith is the strength we have when we put our dreams and goals into God’s hands, but it is our responsibility to see our world as it is—real. The world that we live in is full of facts, facts we must embrace to succeed in life.

As a child, I believed that Superman was the most amazing man in the world. I believed in him so much that I began to think he was real. I remember my first and last attempt to be like him—I tied a blue bath towel to my neck,  climbed my brother’s bunk bed, raised my arms to the sky and jumped. When I hit the floor, I realized by the pain that I was not superhuman and that I could not fly. I thought to myself, “Why can’t I fly if I have faith that I can? After all, faith can move mountains.”

As my mom picked me up, she explained to me how important it is to have faith in ourselves—to believe that we can fly like Superman is not a mistake. Conversely, she told me that we must not have faith in unrealistic ideas. I realized that facts and faith play important roles. When I jumped from the top of my brother’s bed, I was only driven by faith. It is impossible to follow just one—faith or fact—to succeed in life. If we do, we will find the point when we hit the ground, and believe me when I say that it hurts!

If I had considered the facts prior to jumping, I would have realized that Superman lives in the North Pole, and I am from Puerto Rico, where the weather is around 90 degrees most of the year. First, I would have noticed that we are not from the same place, bringing up a valid point that we are not related. So there would be no chance to inherit the ability to fly from him. In addition, I should have noticed that it is impossible, even for Superman, to survive in the North Pole wearing a tight body suit that is more appropriate for scuba diving.

Superman is not real, but at the same time, if we all thought this way, perhaps Orville and Wilbur Wright would not have created the first airplanes. Maybe they wanted to be like Superman, too. They had faith in the same idea that I had as a child—we wanted to fly. The difference is that they used their faith to believe that they could actually make a human fly and applied facts to their idea by using mathematical equations, dynamics, gravity, air flow, space, time, engineering designs, etc.

In life, we need to believe that our faith is the catalyst for ideas to blossom. When fused with facts, innovation and ideas are born. And today, I once again believe in Superman.

Juan Yexier Agosto is a senior in the Music Department, where he is majoring in vocal performance. Juan grew up in a small town called Cidra located in the central mountains of Puerto Rico. Raised with the values and traditions of the Puerto Ricans of the 1950s, Juan looks for new life experiences as he explores Chicago for the first time.