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American spirit...

The September 11, 2001, terrorists' strikes against the United States and the heroic actions the world has witnessed since then inspired this page. The listings below are from two sections in the upcoming book, Jump Start: Recovery in the Fast Lane. We hope they offer comfort and refresh our faith and, in doing so, remind us of the importance of patience, love and acceptance.
In 1986, Halley's Comet made me see how often my fear is based upon limited knowledge. As I was standing at McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains of Texas, surrounded by others who had come for the same reason, I realized I was seeking an experience that in centuries past had evoked fear in man. We often have no way of knowing if we are operating with all the facts or not. We think we know. But do we really? Our ancestors thought they knew, too. I wonder what our future relatives will think of us?

FAITH

From conversations:

Faith is the opposite of unbelief.

We walk by faith, not by sight.

Faith is: God says believe in Me, and I'll show you.

Peace is faith at rest. Calm is faith at work.

Fear knocked at the door. Faith opened it, and there was no one there.

Faith is indestructible hope.

Faith is knowing with your heart, believing you see white when your eyes see black.

Either accept God, or be God.

Though we may not get more than we can handle, we may well get more than we can control.

Faith is knowing the source. God is either everything or nothing.

God is either in every part of my life, or in none of my life.

I always said I had a deep faith. What I really had faith in was that God was going to give me everything I wanted. When I didn't get what I wanted, I was angry. I was told to write down my deepest desires and turn each over to God saying the Third Step prayer from the book "Alcoholics Anonymous."

The prayer says: "I offer myself to Thee -- to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!"

From interviews:

"We have two feelings constantly. We are either expanding or contracting -- open or closed. When we are open, we can receive inspiration. The expansive feeling is life saying this is the way to go. Faith is having belief in something you have no proof for. I haven't followed it enough. I'm beginning to see how crucial it is in all our lives." -- artist Woody Gwyn, 1989.

***

"I looked around and I knew that there were things in this world that were temporary, things that I tried and they lasted a little while. People are trying them all the time, from drugs to sex -- you name it -- looking for gratification in things right now. I did the same thing just like any other kid growing up. I was looking for something that was going to be there I could count on forever. The only thing I could find that was lasting was the Lord." -- tenor Larnelle Harris (in July 1991), winner of five Grammy's and eight Dove awards, on surrendering his will to God in 1970.

***

"The great regret is that I haven't been kinder to people along the way. The other mistakes I think I can live with. I haven't been necessarily a mean person. It's those sort of things -- kindness and gentleness, even joy -- the more I understand the Gospel, the more I feel like those are what it's all about in the end.

"My favorite writer, Frederick Buechner, says the gospel is not as much words that are true as it is a Word that makes us true. I think being true, not so much thinking ideas that are true, being a person who is true involves kindness and gentleness and those sort of things. A lot of Christians just want to be right and maybe not so much authentic or true. I think the Gospel makes us true." -- Michael Card, Christian performer.

From the printed word:

"If you try to understand, you will never have faith. If you have faith, you will come to understand." -- attributed to Saint Augustine.

FEAR

From conversations:

Fear erases all reasoning.

When I am fearful, my breathing becomes shallow. When I notice I am breathing that way, I remind myself that I am not alone. God is with me. I ask God to quiet my fears and say, usually silently, "Be still and know that I am God" over and over while at the same time making a conscious effort to breath deeper.

When I feel myself getting tense, I repeat again and again, "I am at peace."

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