Been thinking about the phrase, “Don’t lose faith”. In the Disney movie, Pocahontas sings “Just Around The Riverbend”, and she asks the following question: “Do you still wait for me, dream giver? Just around the river bend?”

In the New Oxford American Dictionary, faith is defined as “complete trust in someone or something.” Words affiliated with faith are: trust, belief, confidence, conviction, optimism, hopefulness and hope.

My close and dear friend, Heidi Cave, exudes the most faith of any person I know.  One thing she taught me – that I will never forget – is how painful believing can be; yet no matter how painful, one must never stop believing.

Heidi survived a devastating car accident that took the life of her friend and left her severely burned, costing her the loss of both legs from the knees down. She went through months of recovery at the Vancouver Burn Unit. She was fighting for her life on a daily basis. Her memoirs can be read here: FANCY FEET. Now an author and key note speaker, Heidi tells her story of overcoming tragedy and clinging to hope. I am so proud of who she is and the inspiration she is to countless people.

Being part of her journey, I was privy to the hardships she would face. When we’d hang out or when we’d talk on the phone, she would express her frustrations. She would vent; cry; process.  She would let me see her discouragement and her vulnerability.

Believing, hoping and not losing faith was a daily battle.  It was hard work for Heidi to survive; to try and walk again. It wasn’t easy to come to terms that, in a blink of an eye, her life was dramatically changed.

But here’s the part that, to this day, impacted me. The most amazing thing would happen! She’d put her prosthetic legs back on, stand back up, and try again. She taught me that emotions are temporal.  They are real, yes. But they are fleeting. Yet, she never dismissed the emotional impact of her trauma. She taught me that what we feel in the moment is not what defines us. Sure, go ahead, feel every ounce of it. And when you’re finished, remember that it’s the heart and character of what we do next that is foundational to faith.

What did Heidi do next? Every time, Heidi stood back up. With passion in her eyes, she would show us again and again that her faith never lost any ground whatsoever. Yes, there were moments of discouragement, but her fighting faith superseded all emotions.

Sometimes, faith is intense determination.  My friend, Carla Shaver, said to me, “And sometimes faith is weak and broken.  But you just carry on.”  Faith can be painful, yes.  It’s ugly sometimes. However, faith, true faith, is relentless. Faith is the conviction to keep your eyes on the mark and keep pressing forward. Faith provokes in us tenacity. Heidi is my role model in witnessing what faith truly looks like. Heidi believed she would walk again. Heidi believed that a brighter life awaited her. Heidi believed what was ‘just around the river bend‘.

It is with great love and admiration and loyalty that I write about my extraordinary comrade, Heidi Cave. Thank you for showing me what “Don’t lose faith” really looks like.

– Karen Thrall


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