Saturday, January 15, 2011
A window in Notre Dame cathedral
From time to time we have occasions for gut checks. We've got one here. At these moments we often reveal where we choose to place our faith.
A friend of mine puts his faith in technology. He enjoys a number of athletic endeavors including mountaineering. He believes safety can be founds in owning the best equipment. “Reassuringly expensive,” is a phrase that describes his approach to equipment choices. If he invested the time and energy he uses for equipment selection into improving the skills that could save his life, I believe his time would be more wisely spent.
I know many people who put their faith in control. They (wrongly in my opinion) believe that by controlling things they can keep their loved ones safe. Alarm systems, airbags, locks, cell phones, trust funds, etc. will make the difference.
Another person I know puts her faith in following the rules. Pay your bills on time, brush after every meal, floss and take your vitamins and you’ll never get cancer. Not a car in sight? Wait for the light to turn green. Follow all directions, drink lots of liquids and get plenty of rest.
Put your faith in God insists another friend. Trust your elected officials. Big brother knows best. Karma will sort things out. Rely on the kindness of others and everything will be okay.
A wise friend of mine shared some thoughts on the haves and have-nots. We generally all want to help those who can’t help themselves. On the other hand, we generally don’t want to help those who take advantage of the system and live off of the rest of us.
We see injustice in the world and try to understand it. We see tragedy and cannot make sense of it. I wonder if I am a coward for seeking to distance myself from the realities that I cannot explain. Is it worse to stare, or to look away?
At this same time, there is so much goodness in the world. Why aren’t we talking about that? The people who sacrifice and share what they have are amazing. Individuals from doctors to bike mechanics that dedicate their time to help others make a difference and remind us this world is a beautiful place.
I propose we put at least some of our faith in the human race. I believe that given the opportunity our neighbors will help us, and we will help our neighbors. I believe this world will be a better place if we populate it with people who can trust and rely on each other. No law or government can substitute for our conscience.
When you ask yourself why you should care about your neighbor, your answer will probably reveal where your faith is.