This I Believe

Phil - Peoria, Illinois
Entered on September 12, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: humanism

In 2005, shortly after a divorce, and feeling somewhat lonely, I decided to follow a similar path an uncle of mine traveled many years ago. Lennis Broadfoot was an artist who sketched people with charcoal, and as he sketched them, they would tell him about their lives. He was a very “down to earth” man who swapped tales with friends. The short stories that fell from their lips were written down and published in their own native dialect. He was able to “capture their souls” and provide a true snapshot of the hill people of Missouri.

Having no charcoal or artistic talent, I decided that I would go out and have conversations with 333 people at random, to see what I could learn, not really knowing who I would talk to or what they would say.

I listened to what people had to say about their lives- current events, family, religion, and listened as they recalled stories from prior years…from Willie Smith, a tamale-maker who grew up on a Mississippi plantation, to Willie York, a homeless man who lives in the streets of Peoria. I was able to put their words in print and capture their souls.

I was able to see the common threads which run through everyone, and confirm my belief that we are all “one”. We are all made from the same “stuff” as everything and everyone else in the universe, and that our own lives are constantly being revealed through each person that we talk to.

We share experiences, beliefs, philosophies, aspirations, emotions, responsibilities, humor, and disappointments. We all want the same things…compassion, beauty, kindness, safety, and truth. We all want to be part of something greater than ourselves because…we are.

Our world and everything in it formed from long-dead stars. What we are came from the earth, and the earth formed from hot gas, which came from cosmic gas, and on and on to the Big Bang, and presumably beyond that. What is “us” is also everything else. Individually, we may be just a “turn and dip” in this cosmic dance, but we are all part of the dance, nonetheless.

The non-locality theory in quantum physics gives us a major hint. It implies that at a sub-atomic level, everything in the universe is connected. It implies that there is a universal consciousness, of which we are all a part, and that this consciousness has a goal.

I don’t claim to have the knowledge on what that goal may be, but I do know what almost everyone that I spoke with, told me.

Everyone wants to be remembered as having helped other people. Everyone wants to be remembered as making this world a better place on some level. They want to be remembered as being a good human being. They want to know that something that they did will survive after they are gone, and that they contributed to the future. They want to feel that they are indeed, a part of the universe…that they are not alone.