all things being equal...

For some reason, in my little mind, I always thought of faith and hope leading to charity. Like when you are feeling really good in your own beliefs and you have an optimistic outlook on your life (and existence in general), that any following charitable act completes the principle. I haven't given charity enough credit on its own.

You know those kind of days I am thinking about? Your faith manifests itself in the way you have gotten an answer to prayer about a question you have had about your life. Maybe you have a good experience reading some old journal entries or even diving into your scriptures. Your soul whispers to your head I believe.

Then hope sneaks in in the form of a mountain right outside your front door. It seems to be standing there just for you, so that you have a gigantic reminder that you are being watched over. Your soul whispers again saying I believe all will be well.

But this is where I have missed an important part of the triptych. I have thought that later in that same day, when I helped the old woman in the grocery store parking lot to unload her cart, that I was acting on my faith and hope. That that act of charity was a sum of the faith+hope equation. That is partly true. Partly. But through recent experiences I have learned a new lesson. I have learned that extending charity is an equal part of the equation. I have learned that all three principles work together to lift me a little bit closer to where I want to be.

8 comments

midgelovesstamping | October 17, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Like the legs of a stool. Faith, Hope, and Charity. Balanced to keep us up and going up.
Beautiful words, Karen. Thank you.

Juliana | October 17, 2008 at 8:42 PM

I love the intertwined concepts of faith, hope and charity. Such a rich treasure of doctrine! I generally feel like it's easy for me to develop charity than faith & hope, but I think that all three have to be present to be working in the most optimal way. I'm just not sure how to get there yet. I have the road map but I often miss the signs of how to get to where I want to go. :)

LisAway | October 18, 2008 at 12:56 AM

I can't give a reference or anything (because I'm terrible like that) but I know there's something somewhere about how charity is given to us as a gift. Like it's not really so much a characteristic that we have to a given degree, but it is something that we are blessed with (um, I just realized that that pretty much goes for all of our strengths, but it's kind of different.) So I guess that's where the idea that charity follows faith and hope comes in.

I think it's still something we have to work on, too. It's funny because I think I've got some aspects of charity down okay, and then I realize that I pass judgment on someone or am in some other way unforgiving and realize, dang! Charity covers EVERYTHING!! You can't really have perfect charity until you ARE perfect because it is kind of the ultimate virtue. Much as pride is the ultimate vice. (IMO, of course)

Did you know that I just love your posts? You really get me thinking sometimes, and I'm not all that good about that on my own. Thanks so much.

Heidi Ashworth | October 18, 2008 at 3:28 PM

This was so beautifully written--I hear what you are saying. I know that when I am feeling most charitable, it is when I have been exercising faith and hope and it pays off and I just feel so darn charitable with the whole world. Maybe those are the times that it is a gift--then, we add more hope and faith onto that and then we get more charity-anyway, clearly we need to exercise all three.

Heather of the EO | October 18, 2008 at 7:59 PM

I just have to say that I love your perspective on things.

This idea is missed far too often. But all I really have to do is to look at Jesus. His life, his ministry. He was all about justice, the oppressed, the poor. It was all wrapped up in WHO HE WAS, not coming after something else.

I have no idea if that made sense, so I'll stop now. :)

Curly | October 19, 2008 at 6:31 PM

At times I find it so easy to have a balance of faith, hope, and charity. Then one little thing happens or things change slightly and I find myself dropping things off of my list. Charity is usually the first to go. When that happens I don't feel as full in my soul, but trying to force myself back into that feeling seems so difficult.
A few months ago I started saying morning prayers for each of my children as I made their beds and one for my marriage as I made my own bed. It is simple, but it helped me to focus my thoughts and made me happy.

Kazzy | October 20, 2008 at 7:19 AM

Awesome idea! I think the more we think about people individually like that the better the chance that we will fall right into charity mode. Thanks!

charrette | October 20, 2008 at 11:14 PM

Nice exploration of those three sister traits. I like seeing charity as a balancer rather than a sum. They all enrich each other, don't they?