Every day I hear people complaining about the area in which we live, and I must admit that I am often among those complaining. Yes, I can whine with the best of them. While complaining, for the sole purpose of complaining, achieves nothing, I believe most of us simply want to live in a safe, vibrant, and solid region.
So, how do we get to our end goal? Let’s deconstruct this scenario and get to the core of the issue. I will confess upfront that this editorial will have a faith-based relevance as we enter the season of Lent.
We will begin with the following assumptions:
To have a strong region, we must have strong communities.
To have strong communities, we must have strong families.
To have strong families, we must have strong faith.
While faith could mean different things to different people, I will dig into it from the Christian point of view, i.e., Faith in God.
First, let’s each reflect on the true nature of our individual faith. Think about it for a few minutes and then continue reading. To help, we will begin with a story.
Michael tells me he is a sailor.
I respond: that’s great. I am really interested in sailing.
I ask Michael if he goes sailing every week, to which he replies: no.
I ask Michael if he reads the sailing book, to which he replies: no.
I ask Michael if he ever visits the sailing club, to which he replies: no.
I ask Michael if he regularly thinks about sailing, to which he replies, no.
I ask Michael if he is teaching his children about sailing, to which he replies, no.
I ask Michael if he gets together with other sailors, to discuss sailing, to which he replies: no.
I ask Michael if he practices his sailing techniques, to which he replies: no.
I ask Michael if he helps other people who want to become sailors, to which he replies: no.
Finally, I ask Michael why he thinks he is a sailor. Michael replies: Well, I believe in sailing, and I visit a sailboat every Christmas.
This scenario may sound silly, but is this how we treat our faith? Simply saying something doesn’t make it true.
If the only proof that you are a Christian, is you saying, “I believe in God,” that is a very shallow commitment. You know who else believes in God? The devil.
I have always lived by the belief that one should delve deeply into their interests if they want to achieve superior results. For example, know the history; who the main players were; how it started; what are the rules; who are the leading players today; how can one become better, etc. Simply put, if you are committing time and energy into something, thoroughly understand that something.
And if we are serious, is there any more important interest than eternal salvation?
So, this season of Lent, I invite you to live your faith. Go to church every week, LISTEN, and take it to heart. Donate to the poor. Get off your devices and spend silent time in prayer. Sit down for family dinners and begin with Grace. Watch the series ‘The Chosen.’ Volunteer at your church or a community center. Meet with your Priest or Pastor and talk. There are great books available about ‘Understanding Your Faith.’ Buy one and read it every night.
This will require sacrifice, but little positive is ever achieved without self-sacrifice.
I can attest from personal experience, that it is worth it. While my journey has been filled with unexpected setbacks and encouraging victories, it is a continuous work in progress. So, hang in there and commit.
Circling back to the beginning; If we have strong faith, we will have strong families. If we have strong families, we will have strong communities. And if we have strong communities, we will have a strong region.