Monday, October 27, 2008

On A Tightrope.

With all that goes on in the world at any given time - particularly at this very critical time in our world - one of the few things we have to hold on to is hope. There's hope - but there's also faith and love. As far as I can tell, these three things are abundant in the world, yet it often feels as if a minority of us know anything about them.

I've been doing a whole lot of thinking about this for a few months now: the importance of faith, hope and love and how this relates to my spirituality. Truly, I've grown in leaps and bounds over the past few months spiritually - and I've never felt better about things. My spiritual growth - brought about by having to grapple with difficult life issues - seems to have brought about growth in my faith, my love, and my hope. And until tonight, I didn't quite understand how spiritual growth exactly impacted my faith, my love, and my hope.

So I thank God for the article by Dr. Cornel West in the latest issue of Essence Magazine. He has this book out called Hope on a Tightrope - something which is HIGH on the to-read list after reading his insights on faith hope and love as the three pillars of deep spirituality. I was so moved by his writing - particularly this piece:

Spirituality gives us armor to cope with disaster. The three pillars of spirituality are faith, hope and love - yet it is courage that enables all three. Faith enables us to face the future - including inescapable catastrophes - with humility and generosity. Yet there is no faith without the courage to be humble. Hope empowers us to stay on the tightrope despite winds and storms of catastrophes. Yet there is no hope without the courage to fight despair. Love ennobles us to maintain a steadfast commitment to the well-being of someone or some cause greater than our own petty ego. Yet there is no love without the courage to surrender to something more priceless than yourself.
Courage enables faith, hope and love - and these are the elements, I suppose, of spirituality. It makes complete sense with what I've been experiencing. Dr. West also says that "deep and mature spirituality is rooted in a wrestling with catastrophe." This speaks directly to what I've been experiencing - and also, speaks directly to what I believe our country and our people are experiencing. I'm walking on a tightrope through life right now - the wrong steps could be disastrous for me - but I walk with hope that I will make it through (I'm not sure if that's what Dr. West means when he talks of hope on a tightrope, but that's how I'm gonna run with it!) and with faith that God won't let me fall - and love - for myself, for my God, and for those who come through with a safety net if I need it! Dr. West had his own tightrope - his cancer diagnosis - and he reflects:

But I refused to let death come in like a thief in the night and steal my joy I had already given and received.... To be human means choosing the courage to think, love, hope and fight for justice and freedom in the face of catastrophe. Death could come, because I had made my choice.

Mmmm. Read that article in the latest Essence (on the very last page)! Reminds me that as a people, Americans also have the courage to think, love, hope and fight for justice and freedom in the face of catastrophe. It is our choice - and it's not just about who we choose to lead our nation - but our choice to have the courage to do what is right in the name of justice and freedom and the betterment of our nation. Who we choose to lead - and what that leader does - is important but this is a choice to be courageous enough to take individual action outside of polling booths. How many of us have this courage? How many of us will make the choice?

The blessed thing about having faith, hope and love is that the future never appears bleak. The past has passed and every moment we experience, good or bad, is our present but the future - when one is armed with faith, hope and love - is nothing but full of possibility. Things will change in our nation - it's inevitable - but we have the power to make the days to come days that will bring our nation in a positive direction.

I really just felt the need to share what I read today and all the thoughts swirling in my head about it. I have this other blog post about my issues with the "plus size" phenomenon coming next - thought that would be the next post in this blog - but I had to get this out now!

Here's more of Dr. West on The Colbert Report talking about hope and our nation on a tightrope.

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