I was telling my friend about this show on NPR, the radio station that could convince anyone to support the UN or move to Africa as a peacemaker, about this segment called “This I Believe.” A few years ago, I could have written the perfect plaster essay on religion. This is where I’m at now:
I believe that you shouldn’t get in the turn lane if you will not be turning right on red. I believe cell phones were invented to make rude interruptions acceptable. I believe the fast lane is reserved for fast drivers. I believe recycling paper is important, but since all we’ll do with it is make more literary trash, why bother? I believe Southerners, God bless us all, often don’t really care how the other person is doing. I believe politicians only care about money, that voters don’t care about public policy, and that a dollar a day will never be edible. I believe there are about a million things that happen in a day that piss me off and force me to dock points from the score of humanity because when it comes down to it what I really believe is that the world revolves around me.
And because I believe the world revolves around me, I’m frightened by the existence of love. If love can exist in a world that revolves around my pettiness, then the use of love can turn the world in an entirely different direction. Like when I see a stranger offer some loose change to another stranger ringing a bell in front of a department store. It kind of makes me want to be apart of that glance between the two, that mutual understanding of hard luck. I also want to be apart of the moment when a parent tells a child “no”, because restraint from a harmful action, say crossing the street without looking or smoking because it looks cool, that restraint equals love because love means wanting what’s best, no matter the cost.
When I think about it, love is what makes me question that perhaps the world doesn’t revolve around me. I know I couldn’t think up anything so grand, something that makes all my good deeds useless if I really don’t care about the other person. Something that asks me yeild to the jerk who just cut someone else off, to pay attention to the person in front of me and turn my own cell phone off, and, worst of all, to have hope that others are capable of love.
So this I believe, that the world revolves around me, at least until I let love convince me otherwise.
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