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"Faces of Nashville" Feature: Mariela

[This is part three of a three-part series of stories from "Faces of Nashville," a joint venture of Siloam Health and Jeremy Cowart. We are pleased to boast of Siloam Health as one of our Most Outstanding Tokens Show sponsors, and a most outstanding provider of "health care transformed by love" here in Nashville. Jeremy Cowart is an award-winning photographer, artist, and entrepreneur whose mission in life is to "explore the intersection of creativity and empathy," and is the founder of The Purpose Hotel, a planned global for-profit hotel chain designed to fuel the work of not-for-profit organizations. For more information, visit  or]

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I came to the United States from Colombia 25 years ago. I was 45 years old. The bank I was working for thought I was too old as an employee—so they just gave me some money and asked me to leave. But I wanted to keep working. When I came to the U.S., I felt so blessed when I found Siloam because I was able to work and also help people.

My son is still in Colombia. It's hard to be away from him, but I also have to understand that my family does not belong to me. The truth is that nothing belongs to us—not our jobs, our husbands, or our wives. We say “my job,” “my husband,” or “my house” —but really we have nothing here. It all belongs to God. I wish I had learned that idea earlier in life, but now that I know that, I feel free.

I don’t want to forget to be thankful for everything God provides. That makes me feel stronger and more at peace. I was weaker when I was young because I didn’t understand that when my faith increases, I become stronger—not when I try to fix everything myself. Everybody has problems and things that need to be fixed or solved. But it doesn’t work when we try to solve everything at the same time and in our own way. I think I started to feel stronger when I started to fix the things that I could fix and let God take care of the rest. God makes me even stronger as I get older. There aren’t many things can take away my peace now.


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