This I Believe

Mareike - Harford, New York
Entered on November 18, 2006

THIS I BELIEVE

I believe in the power of our willful choices, to shape and sometimes transform us. When our beginnings do not present us to the world, fresh-faced, eager, fearless and well-equipped, making transformative choices is the only choice we have. This is almost insurmountably hard. Almost.

My partner and I live on a 40 acre farm with magnificent views and a menagerie of rescued animals, including two goofy cows, a pigmy goat who think she’s a cow, two small terrier-type dogs of bizarrely mixed breeds, and two strayed-into-my-life cats who are inexcusably cranky in their good fortune. It is a house full of compassion and lively love. Each of its members has finally escaped the brutality and poverty of his former existence, the lasting effects of which can still be seen in fleeting moments of paralyzed terror or a tendency toward self-subjugation. Such relentless brutality almost ruined us. Almost.

I am a sign language interpreter for the Deaf. I work in college settings. It is my responsibility to comprehend class lectures and interpret their meaning into American Sign Language. In this capacity I am exposed to topics as varied as the American Constitution and International Wine Tasting, with a few Financial Statement Analysis courses to foil the fascination factor. Currently I am interpreting an evolution class for a professor who believes there is no such thing as free will, that we are controlled by the twin forces of environment and natural selection. His emphatic perspective has stimulated an inner dialogue about what I believe. It is inarguably true that we see things through the veil of our own experience; our background is the only lens we have through which to view the world. Inevitably this must cut the prism of choices we hold before our eyes. You could almost say that the world we inherit and then absorb through our developmental years is the world we have to work with. Almost.

Yet I believe the power of the inner spirit can transcend the biology and environment of our beginnings, by calling us to choices we have no idea how to bring to fruition and leading us step-by-hyper-vigilant-step into the murky and frightening Unknown. I believe that with courage, persistence, and willful choosing, our inner spirit can teach our shattered selves to be whole, even as we bleed gathering up the pieces. I believe if there is breath left in our body, our inner spirit can rise. It can raise us, beyond hopelessness and limited vision to the life of possibilities that was almost lost to us. Almost.

This, I most passionately believe.