imageWe all have faith. Everyone believes in something. For some, it’s God voicing piercing morning prayer. For others, it’s faith of love in another. It could be faith that our elevators work, the automobile in the next lane will not crash or the pilot will land an aircraft perfectly. We all have faith that ice cream cones will taste heavenly. The rain will quench the farm field next door, or the shores of Eastsound will quiet a restless heart.

Paul Torday’s novel Salmon Fishing in Yemen captured faith’s essence:

“I had belief. I did not know, or for the moment care, what exactly it was I had to believe in. I only knew that belief in something was the first step away from believing in nothing, the first step away from a world which only recognized what it could count, measure, sell or buy. The people here still had that innocent power of belief: not the angry denial of other people’s belief of religious fanatics, but a quiet affirmation. That was what I sensed here, in this land and in this place, which made it so different from home. It was not the clothes, not the language, not the customs, not the sense of being in another century. It was none of these. It was the pervading presence of belief.”

So how can the poor give unto the rich and how can the rich give unto the poor. This is exactly what the love of my life taught. Karen first taught to learn to believe in universal love. At the time, I couldn’t understand her, yet I could see it. Still, Karen’s level of commitment overpowered me and I hid from the depth power surrounding me. Thus, she wasn’t able to see me through the journey I so desperately wanted to endure.

Obviously, there’s an essential key second lesson: in my continual effort to keep and enrich Karen’s spirit, if I can hear God in my most meditative moments, then I have faith Ferguson, Chicago, New York, Detroit or anyone can achieve a beautiful blend of faith and works. That the God so seemingly absent, is so ever present. He can and does thrust the sword of love into our hearts and chaffs away the seeds of hatred. As Marcus Luttrell wrote, “No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how far you fall, you are never out of the fight.”

Third, leadership is not just having the vision of change; it’s the ability to effect change. The vision must empower people to succeed; to become the community, the home and person you want to be. In the movie, A League of Their Own, Dottie Hinson tells Jimmy Duggan “It just got too hard.” Jimmy replied, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard … is what makes it great.

Remember, the hard makes us great.