Faith and Hope: Tools of the Trade

“Faith is unseen but felt, Faith is strength when we feel we have none, Faith is hope when we feel all is lost.” – Catherine Pulsifer

For those who endured the same Catholic education I did, the word “faith” is dropped as often as the younger generation drops the word “fomo” these days. Let’s face it the word gets old. We say “keep the Faith,” but the more it is said it becomes this elusive purple Haze as invisible as the transmission of the coronavirus. Tests of Faith, however are as real as the PPE we all utilize for safety. For all intents and purposes, to understand Faith, we need to understand the multifaceted definition of the word. Many will view Faith as a religious term meaning trusting in some old man with a beard in the sky.

In its essence, we need to look at faith through a sense of connectedness to ourselves and the world around us. Faith in humanity. Faith in our resilience. And most importantly faith in ourselves. Faith is one of the core resources found deep within us all that is going to help us through these hard times. In my personal view, the perfect example of Faith I reflect on, is the time I witnessed on September 12, 2001. Strangers became neighbors, kindness was the theme and no questions were asked. The uncertainty became manageable because we showed up as ourselves simply to help others. No promise of a better tomorrow, just fear first then showing up- faith. The hardest struggle is faith in the self. Remaining grounded in times when everything we thought we knew becomes questioned and the illusion is no longer comfortable. Faith is an inner knowing that showing up as ourselves and others, authentically, is all we truly need to over come.

Hope, on the other hand, in my view is directly related to faith. You do not possess one without the other. Hope is experienced when we accept that just because something is out of our control, it does not mean all is lost. To find hope in a dark time, remembering our time in childhood is the skill. Though we are sometimes at the mercy of the negative experiences of the past, many can find at least one memory where time was irrelevant and joy intoxicated us to our core. Personally, in using the year 2001 as inspiration, I can remember being an 11 year old kid with a backwards Mets hat on watching the first home game at Shea since 9/11 on the TV. Now this was a big deal because it was past my bed time. Mike Piazza, a childhood hero of mine, came to bat. New Yorkers filled that stadium to the brim. Many mixed with patriotism while experiencing the reality of all lost that year. Some held back tears, some could not. The sound of that bat cracking for the home run heard in Jersey and the Mets taking the lead was a timeless memory for an utterly confused and scared kid donning that Mets gear with overwhelming pride. It was in that moment that time stopped. We remembered who we were. We remembered baseball. More importantly we remembered hope. Hope that with a small moment of familiar normalcy we could rise. We could not bring back the lost, but we could live for them today.

The year 2020 has pushed us far beyond the limits we have known. Emotionally and mentally many of us feel as though we suffered through 10 rounds with Muhammad Ali. Here’s what I hold to: the fact that we hold in despite the fatigue means faith and hope can be found within. We just need to turn down the volume so it can speak though us.

Keep the faith!

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