This I Believe

Paul - Bethesda, Maryland
Entered on September 18, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: tolerance

“Oh lord, your sea is so vast, and my ship is so small.”

-Prayer of an unknown fisherman.

As I travel throughout the world, I see so much that reminds me of places formerly visited. It’s not to slough off the burden of nostalgia that I go so far away, but instead to encounter it. It is the same sounds, smells and tastes that remind me of places visited. In my trips to the townships, I am reminded of the favelas and barrios. Poverty is poverty, the world over. Yet so much poverty without misery.

In my stay with host families, I am reminded that family is family. Mothers want to feed you. Fathers want to make sure you are safe, but more importantly that you are having a time that lets them vicariously live out past days.

People are always the same. They are smiling faces that love it when you stumble over their language. They are compassionate, merciful and charitable. Yet they are scornful, petulant and greedy. They are always big thumbs up, and scowls facing down. They are the countless beautiful girls encountered the world over. They are the same smiling little children who crowd around for candy. They are the same old faces lined in both wisdom and pain. People never cease to amaze me in their infinite ability to display the goodness that is so inherent to our nature.

“Kol Haolam kulo gesher tsar meod, vehaikkar lo lefached klal”

-“All the world is a narrow bridge. The main thing is not to fear.”