This I Believe

Barbara - Santa Cruz, California
Entered on September 18, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: hope

According to the Internet source, Dictionary, com, “belief” is a noun. It means “to hold an opinion or conviction, confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.” I want to feel such confidence. I hunger for that conviction.

I used to believe that we were all, I don’t know: Safe. Routine. Okay. I don’t think one single thing changed that belief; not that early September morning five years ago, not what I currently read in the news or see on television; not the debates and details of everyone else’s faith. It was subtler than that. I think I experienced, somehow, a slow erosion of sureness.

I used to believe in the endurance of friendship, only to lose companions along the way. I used to believe in the undying power of the spirit, but I have sat bedside, holding the hand of my grandmother as she was dying, and watched as her spirit flickered and faded. I used to believe in the unrelenting energy of nature, a natural balance to the earth, but no matter how many scientists bicker over the results, I sometimes think I can feel the air growing warmer against my skin. Faith and pride and love and ice caps are not always, not for everyone, the things that endure.

So I hope. I hope for belief in something that persists to rise again inside my own heart, the way I hope, desperately, for the future of my children, the way I hope, deliberately, for the earth and the way in which I hope, enduringly, for peace.

And I listen. I listen to the gleeful shrieks of my children as they chase and are chased by the ocean’s waves, an ocean which was here long before us and will hopefully be here long, long after I am gone. And at the ocean, my feet tucked into the warm sand, I listen to the laughter of other people’s children, the children of people I do not yet know who sit along with me on the beach, and as we watch the ebb and the tide, I know that new friendships will come, new spirits will be born, and the tide will go out and the tide will come back in again.