Archive for December, 2008

Hope, Faith and Charity in the Anti-Depressant Economy

I only know two things: what I feel and what I have lived.

"This Too Shall Pass." Courtesy of Sherman Charles, Photographer.

"This Too Shall Pass." Courtesy of Sherman Charles, Photographer.

Binding those two things together has always been, I think, “faith.” For regardless of what statistics may show or what critics may say, there is always that feeling, that gut belief that “I can do this” in that back of most of our minds. This is what propels us to pursue our hopes and dreams and goals.

Hope. You know: like that space between heartbeats or the sound of finches in morning’s darkness long before the dawn. They too believe that somewhere off in the distance there will be a sunrise.

The Credit Crunch, the Wall Street Bailout, the Mortgage Crisis, the nationalization of Britain’s banks: it all makes us anxious.

We are anxious for a return to normalcy; normalcy in home values and in a return to a normal housing market, normalcy in the presumed predictability in the stock market, normalcy in how we feel about our financial and political institutions as functioning responsibly on behalf of shareholders and the national trust.

Only when we feel that there is a clear path and plan for a return to normalcy, stability will we have greater faith in our financial systems and institutions. Let’s call this investor confidence.

I believe that faith – that which we hold on to in the absence of experience or proof or factual precedence – faith is what holds together and fires the very core of our beliefs to shape our reality. Faith drives us forward through those times of darkness comforting us with the thought of the sound of finches way before the next dawn may come.

All we can do until that new day comes is what we feel is best to create the conditions for us to arrive safely there, even if its may be uncomfortable at times along the way.

My friend Avi once shared with me this ancient Jewish folktale:

“King Solomon once searched for a cure against depression. He assembled his wise men together. They meditated for a long time and gave him the following advice: Make yourself a ring and have thereon engraved the words ‘This too will pass.’ The King carried out the advice. He had the ring made and wore it constantly. Every time he felt sad and depressed, he looked at the ring, whereon his mood would change and he would feel cheerful.”

Yes, I believe that “this too shall pass.” Yet, I feel that we will somehow not only survive this period of instability and unknown “read: dark” future, but we will “make it” to a new day. For we can take an active role in constructing our future.

The challenge of our future stability lies in maintaining a closer relationships: within our financial and political institutions, in our daily participation in them for accountability, and with each other.

As individuals, we can only maintain control over our livelihoods and our professional activities to either earn a living or enjoy one. We must have faith and surety in our institutions and economic systems

So hold on, lean a little into it and ride this one. Not taken for a ride, and not to simply ride it out. But fully conscience and engaged in the institutional systems needed to achieve our hopes and dreams in this great American experiment.

Though it may look a little dark ahead, keep a steady head, the eyes level on where you need to go, and your grip sure. But be there to ride.



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