This I Believe

Ellen - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on November 25, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

It still just absolutely blows me away that we have the capacity to make people, to grow them in our bodies, and then feed them from our breasts until they no longer need us. We talk about this process like it’s just an everyday occurence. And it is- that’s what’s so goshdarn shocking about it all. It’s magical. I still get all tingly inside thinking about how unbelievable the whole thing is.

Now that I have my baby, and now that the Middle East seems to be swirling out of control, I’ve been thinking a lot about religion and what I will tell her about what I believe. I would tell her this today:

I don’t believe in God, and moreover, I’m not quite sure that there is a God. If this person or thing is supposedly the arbiter of goodness, why in the world does belief in God cause so much devisiveness, anger and even evil. This week’s events in Iraq are nothing but evil. I believe that “faith” can divide people, be made to manipulate people, and cut off communications between people. Yes, the structure of religion does a world of good for many. But it is not for me.

It is enough for me to believe in the incredible beauty of life on this planet. We are such a tiny speck in the universe. My time here is not even a blip of time in the history of the universe. It will go unnoticed. So it is my job to notice it. I believe that I can find enough happiness in my family, in my travels, in the wonder of birth and the stillness of death to satisfy my soul many times over. There is meaning in experiencing the processes that make us animals, humans, and people. There is meaning in connecting with people, and there is meaning in striving to understand, and to protect other life on our planet.

I am not controlled by a God. My impulses are controlled by me alone. I find that liberating. I am the only person who can seek forgiveness, who can live and love and laugh and make this tiny life as exhilirating as possible. I choose to be good every day, not to reach a goal at the end of my life, but because being good and right is what makes me happy. It prolongs my time on earth; it makes me fulfilled.

My heaven is my daughter, and her daughters. My future contribution to this earth is whatever she takes from me. My spirit will be kept alive by the memories of me that she passes to her children’s children. That is enough. That is exactly what makes me want to be good. Knowing that there is nothing more. Knowing that I am a part of a spectacular evolution of life. That I am holding in my body the very elements that make up the stars. That is enough for me. That is the magic in my world.

Religion gives a groundwork. It offers a connection. I have that connection. I take my pleasure in the parts of life that connect me to everyone, and everything around me. I prepare good food, I nurse my baby, I sleep, I make love and seek love in my husband, I help sustain a family and its traditions. I listen, I observe, I grow things, I care for animals, I care for myself. That is enough. I believe in the power and majesty of what is here; what is all around us. It humbles me and makes me proud to be a part of it all. It sends chills down my spine just thinking about it.