This I Believe

Ruth - Kearney, Missouri
Entered on August 23, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: hope, setbacks

I am not, by nature, a hopeful person. I rapidly taint any praise or opportunity with grays and chalky blacks. Though I believe that I am, by nature, a trusting person. But the tarnished side of the nurture principle, experience, and small betrayals abrade what fragile attachments one has.

But this I do believe: in trust and in hope. To me, they are one and the same.

I grew up as a pastor’s daughter. Harried by the watchful eyes of churchgoers, encumbered by the stigma of home schooling, sad in the quietness of my existence, I trusted the religion I was raised in. Trusted what my father taught, what I thought he lived consistently. But remnants of many years of emotional upheaval, proof of my father’s extramarital exploits and many lies collected into my parent’s divorce. My past, so shaded and mildewed, rotted my trust in legalistic religion, my father, and myself.

As an English major in college, I learned about communication, all about the morality of the ancients, the value of short sentences and vivid verbs. And, for a moment, I trusted in the ultimate power of words. Yet, I couldn’t trust completely language or writing, due perhaps to too much Jacques Derrida and Stanley Fish, perhaps too many questions, too much play amongst ideas.

I graduated in May and have since plunged into the ooze of online applications and personal interviews. It seems I’m getting nowhere. I quit a job, after only four days, because of harassment complications. Can I even trust my judgment? Can I trust this corporate world I am planning to enter?

I believe trust trails quietly behind hope, a shadow one often forgets. Trust appears as my thoughts tilt toward desperation; trust fortifies hope, makes it longer and leaner, even if only until the sun sets. Without trust, hope is a slight concept, adrift in connotations and prejudices. I am only twenty-two, I say to myself often. I am only twenty-two, yet I have not found a cause, a view, a purpose strong enough to piece together the questions. And perhaps I never will.

So I choose to believe in hope and in trust. I believe in their momentary lifts and redemptions, in their strange designs and their shadowy promise that the moon will bud again soon. I believe in the purity of hope fitted into the necessary groves of trust.