I believe in God. I am forever grateful to Him for his patience with me and His tolerance and His forgiveness. Not too long ago, unhappy and bitter, I left Him. But He never left me. He was there, always helping me in the untiring devotion of two friends, guiding me gently back to the path of belief and back to the habit of daily prayer.
I still believe in never taking anything for granted in this very human world. I believe that men should not be afraid of sentiment. If we raise sons who are callous over the tragedies of others, we will breed a race of men as contemptuous of everything but power as…as the Nazis. I believe that Americans will never be bred that way.
While I do not attend church regularly, I believe in going to church. But not just to give lip service to the Lord. Very often on my way home from the studio, I stop at a little church. I go inside and just sit there, letting what I have in my heart go to God in a kind of unspoken prayer. I don’t know how to pray formally. And then relaxed and filled with a sense of well being, feeling strong again, I leave.
I’ve had to be self-reliant and I believe in it, in doing the best you can, as thoughtfully as you can, and in praying right along with what you’re doing—not just turning to God in a last minute frenzy, asking Him to straighten out mistakes you’ve made. Even He can’t do that sometimes. But He can forgive mistakes, and that way He prevents you from making the same mistakes again.
I believe that faith is stronger than fear and can conquer it. Once I was trampled by a horse. I was badly injured. They told me that I might not walk again. Afraid of being paralyzed, I got up and walked—I had to walk. Faith replaced fear. When I got to the hospital the doctors couldn’t believe that with the leg injuries I had received I had walked and worked all day. Months of treatment followed, of course, but walk I did, and dance. I knew I would.
I believe that my greatest blessing is to have had enough talent to have vindicated my opportunities and I’m grateful that through these opportunities I’ve gained the wherewithal to do for others. I’m always aware of that blessing. I used to ask myself, “I have so much, so many blessings, why can’t I be happy all the time?” And one day the answer came to me: I was asking too much. Someone very wise once said that happiness and sorrow are inseparable, that you cannot feel nor understand one emotion without having known the other.
I don’t believe that people want to be bad or hurt others. Most of the time when people have been hurt badly themselves, they lash out at everyone else. We don’t have His kind of forgiveness, and it’s very difficult to learn to “turn the other cheek.” I have not learned this as well as I should, nor as well as I want to, but I am trying.
I do believe that this is the lesson I must learn so I may become a better person. And as I learn my lessons, I may be able to help someone else, as I have been helped. I believe that this is the only way I can prove my gratitude to God and my appreciation of all the help I’ve had from people of greater faith and wisdom than mine. I believe we must believe in God. I believe that without this, we will have no world.
Barbara Stanwyck acted in some 100 films (including “Double Indemnity" and “Sorry, Wrong Number") before moving to television in the 1950s. She had leading roles in her own show as well as “Big Valley," “The Colbys" and “The Thorn Birds" mini-series. Stanwyck won three Emmy Awards and garnered four Oscar nominations.
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