Friday, September 9, 2011


This weekend, we observe the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As a DC-dweller, the sadness of that day is often present here throughout the year, but heightened around the anniversary each September. Instead of dwelling on the sadness and fear that accompanies this occasion, I wanted to focus on three uplifting concepts instead that are very meaningful to me -- faith, hope and charity. Throughout the weekend, I will be blogging about each term and how I think it relates to this significant experience in our lives.

One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is a charm with a gold cross, anchor and heart symbolizing faith, hope and charity, respectfully. It was given to me by my godmother, one of my favorite people on the planet. I often wear it when I need some extra strength or courage to face a challenging day. Since it was given to me by one of the most spiritual people I know, I feel as though it holds a peaceful energy that helps center me whenever I wear it.

So, let's start with faith. Faith is the perfect beginning for this weekend's conversation, because it's the foundation of everything I am and live by. When talking about faith and spirituality, people tend to get caught up on semantics. We always feel as if we have to name and label things, which hold little interest to me. From my perspective, faith is the belief in something greater than oneself. It is the acknowledgement that that greatness resides within ourselves and in people around us. It is knowing that we embody part of that higher power and each  hold the ability and responsibility to share it with others through our choices, words, thoughts and actions.

Faith isn't just about religion or spirituality. It is also the difficult acceptance that light and dark co-exist in the world and that while bad things may happen, good things happen at the same time to counteract that action and create balance. While hatred and ignorance may have flown into those buildings ten years ago, we heard and saw stories about how love, compassion, kindness and humanity flowed out of it in the form of strangers helping each other escape or get home, first responders toiling for days  without rest in rescue and recovery missions, and people all around the world holding vigils and rallies to demonstrate their love and support for America in this tragedy.

Faith asks us to make a leap, to believe in something that we often can't see or prove even exists. It is the tenet that asks us to trust that while the day may seem dark, lighter days will follow. It is a philosophy that requires us to believe that when a door closes, another will open. Like Indiana Jones did in the Last Crusade film, sometimes we have to leap out onto a ledge we can't see, trusting that our foot will touch solid ground even when our ego insists we will fall.

I leaned on faith a lot following the 9/11 attacks and lean on it now as each anniversary passes. Faith is what keeps the fear at bay. It is what allows me to brave Metro trains and trips downtown when raised terror alerts inflame nerves calling me to stay home. Faith is our champion against terrorism and the other man-made evils present in our lives. It was the warrior Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. called upon in his battle against injustice and prejudice. As the saying goes, with faith all things are possible. It the cross that  keeps love present in the midst of great sadness and hatred.

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