President Obama has that effect when he speaks. When he gave his inaugural address, I felt completely swept up in all the hope so many people were putting in him and the determined way he's meeting it. I found myself wanting him to tell us what to do. I wanted him to say, "Be kind. Love each other. In these frightening times, find a way to help not just yourself but your neighbor. Because if we all do that, the climate will change, and the economy will follow." Idealistic much? Oh yea.
I told you the world just lost a wonderful man named Keith Lawson. He moved to my hometown not long before I was born in it, and soon founded the food pantry that is still going strong. I wrote about that food pantry in an article you can find on Radiant Magazine. The idea in the article is completely awesome. Unfortunately, I'm still not really practicing. It's one thing to realize you're not a giver. It's another to actually become one. Keith really was one.
I like to listen at a funeral or memorial service and take in all of the kind things said, wondering what people might say of me. I leave funerals with more resolutions than at New Year's. In this case, what I kept hearing was how much faith Keith had in people. Everyone kept saying that: "He believed in me."
One preacher said that what Keith really believed was God inside of us. That's probably true, but it reminds me of a theory I heard in a movie - that we all began as one soul that then broke into two and then four, etc., so that we are all now tiny pieces of a whole. I kind of believe that about God - that parts of him are in all of us, different aspects more pronounced in you than in me and vice versa. So that we can never truly know Him on earth unless we let in a whole lot of different kinds of people. That's kind of what it means to me to believe in people.
And it's how I feel about America's economy crisis. I know that we could really fail this test. We could all turn to greed and fear and burrow into our various holes with our various stashes of money, and everything would fall apart. But I believe in us more than that. I think we'll learn how giving is the best way to receive and that even though the unstoppable greed of some may have gotten us in this mess, it will be the hard work and sacrifice of the rest of us that gets us out. And we'll do that, because of the part of us in which good people believe. You have to admit - even if I'm wrong, I'd rather weather the storm with hope than without.