This I Believe

Robert - Flagstaff, Arizona
Entered on September 15, 2006
Age Group: 65+

When I moved to Flagstaff, Az, in 2002, I was a registered Republican and a firm believer in god. I came from Orange County, Ca, where I was a highschool teacher for 40 years. City life and a busy teaching schedule kept me from myself. I wasn’t paying attention to my own beliefs. Being retired gave me time to think about what I believed. I kept thinking about my Chicano students in Santa Ana and how hard their families worked for very little pay, frequently less than minimum wage. Everyone worked, mom and dad, and some siblings dropped out of school to work. Yet, it frequently took two families or four generations of the same family to pay the rent on a two-bedroom apt. One of my students slept on the floor in the livingroom after everyone went to bed. My students were encouraged not to come home too early in the evenings as the livingroom would be occupied. It finally dawned on me that these poorer classes were being taken advantage of. No benefits, no medical insurance, etc. Then I thought about my next door neighbor here in Flagstaff who made $3 an hour because she got tips. It took three girls working to pay the rent. Then I started hearing the stats that over 40 million people in our country lived below the poverty line. And with no medical insurance. I became an Independent until I realized I couldn’t vote in the primaries. Then I became a Democrat. We have to find a way to share the vast wealth of our country more equitably.

Then, I was sitting in church on Sunday morning listening to a new pastor preach. Every Sunday she would repeat how good god was: “God is so good, God is so good,” and I had a revelation. It actually startled me, it hit me so fast. I said to myself: “What newspaper is she reading?” I gave up the idea of a good god right there. There couldn’t be a good god in this world. A good god wouldn’t allow the horrors of the world, present and past. And the theodicy of free will is a joke. If god is omniscient, he knows we would make the wrong choices. I gave up the idea of a good god, but have become more spiritual. I look for the good deed everyday. I bow to the mountains or any pristine scene with forest and lakes, etc. I see the spectacular clouds here and say thankyou. I say thankyou for the flowers and rain. I bow to the universe. I don’t need to give the mystery a name.