Monday, February 2, 2009

Alan's Soapbox - a loss of faith

Explanation - Technically it is not a soapbox. It is an old apple crate. It's missing a few slats and a bit worm eaten. If I stand on it very carefully it provides a platform from which I may rant at the world.

Disclaimer - All the opinions expressed in these rants are mine. My wife often reminds me (when I start expressing my opinions) that I am "often wrong, but never uncertain".

A loss of faith

When I was young I was fascinated by magicians. I loved their tricks and believed in their magic. The ability to flick a wand and make a bouquet of flowers instantly appear was amazing. I could watch that and other tricks over and over and enjoy the magic every time. Then I learned the trick. I saw the cheap paper flowers pop out of the wand, and the magic was lost. From then on it didn't matter what show I saw, how much of a showman the magician was, how great the costumes, the lights, the effects, the magic was gone. I didn't believe.

Faith is the belief in something unseen but true.

This past Saturday I was at the store stocking up on a few essentials. I waited in line with a group of folks with carts filled with snacks and party food. They chatted and ribbed each other about the up coming big game and the parties they had planned. Every once in a while the conversation would die and fear would creep into their faces and eyes. Fear of lost jobs and an uncertain future. When I looked in their eyes I could see the fear and understand it. I could also see that look I had when I stopped believing the magic. These people have lost faith in the system. They don't believe it will get better. They have seen the trick and aren't buying the sales pitch that should restore confidence and fix everything.

Faith is the belief in something real even when you don't understand it or can't see it. When you realize that it isn't real, that it is all an illusion, faith evaporates.

I stood there in the store surrounded by these hopeless people, who wanted to believe, but no longer could, and I too felt fear for the future.
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