What is the definition of faith?
I read the NY Times every day. It’s my primary news source, and on nytimes.com there are many blogs. One of my favorites is called Schott’s Vocab, a blog that explores words or phrases currently being used in the worldly vernacular, which have an impact on current times or events. The blog also has monthly “competitions” in which Schott asks for personal definitions of words, and readers reply with their feedback of what they consider the definition to be.
This weekend’s competition? Define faith.
This becomes a dense consideration when we immediately realize that this is (quite purposely by Schott, no doubt) a word that stirs deep emotion for most Americans. Some interesting definitions were appended. Many people who responded used biblical reference; many reflected “the belief of a nonbeliever”, as I’ll call it; some referenced Limp Bizkit. My personal favorite: “Faith is fate with a lisp,” from Herman Krieger.
Skip to Saturday night, when I had the great opportunity to experience a wonderful young singer/songwriter named David Ramirez. I went to his CD release event expecting nothing, as I had never heard his music. [I will use this happening to explain that, while I absolutely love and receive oxygen from music, I’m a tough critic. And, in some weird twist of fate, I have no individual musical talent, but I have huge talent in recognizing the beauty that others produce.]
When it came time for David to perform, I sat in a chair in front of him and listened to him pour out his deepest emotions to a backyard full of people, many of which knew him in the way-back past when he wore diapers. The setting was picturesque (think backdrop of: American flag, perfect sturdy wooden fence, mature swaying trees, vast Texas sky).
My opinion? I think, like a lot of people that experience David’s music, that I heard so much more than the comeliness of the rhythm, the harmony, and the melody, but I also heard a unique voice and empathy. And as David’s lyrics projected sentiments about love, exploring life, and familial ties, I thought about trust. I thought about pursuing dreams. I thought about how sometimes life is about finding your Self while you’re away from home, yet always knowing where home is. David’s music inspired me to think about faith.
David Ramirez, for me, on this one night in Texas, was the physical representation of (Schott’s word) faith. I will be upfront now and say that I don’t know David’s story. What I think I do know of his story relates to: his effort against all odds, his determination to do what he thought would work, his grit to go against the norm and travel to find what he was looking for, and ultimately his always having faith in himself and his beliefs–which ends, for now, in the production of this extraordinary CD.
On the car ride home from the party, my friend Courtney and I talked about how it takes a special person to pursue their dreams, particularly when it means sometimes going against what others may think is right or rational. And it takes an amazing person who–through many ups, downs, and vicious potholes in the road–keeps the faith that they will accomplish their goal.
Kudos. Kudos. Kudos.
Kudos for a haunting 101 megabytes of music, kudos for arousing in others “fate with a lisp“. And kudos for evoking the true definition of the word faith, which can’t be written on paper but instead is represented in a beautiful, courageous life.