This I Believe

Jany - South Orange, New Jersey
Entered on February 7, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: love

A dear friend gave me the book This I Believe. Once I grasped the concept from the book’s intro and the website, I decided to write my own two-cents-worth before reading what others believed so I could see if I was inclined to change anything after reading others’ thoughts. I saw many whose beliefs were influenced by their calling in life—dancers, doctors, writers, politicians—but the ones that moved me most were often from the Joe Averages, not the famous names. Very little changed in my own thoughts.

I believe in the power of love. Rich or poor, intelligent or mentally disabled, ancient history or modern day—I believe that love is the moving force behind all. The Bible says that love is greater than faith and hope. That’s pretty powerful.

I was born into a loving family, and I never heard my parents say a mean word to each other. Never. I remember some silences, and now I know what those meant, but I never heard hurtful language. I thought that every family was like mine, and I’ve spent the rest of my life learning that my family was the exception, not the rule. But that love gave me a foundation on which to sail the rough seas of life (and one does not become a good sailor on calm seas). Love also gave me one of my most precious memories: looking in on my visiting parents as they slept in the middle of the night, two elderly gray-haired folks, sound asleep, my mother wrapped in my father’s arms.

I believe in the power of love. I believe that God is love because something so majestic, so powerful, so tender, so far-reaching and mysterious cannot possibly be a happenstance of the Big Bang. Love is so moving and complex, and it reaches far, far beyond the magic of holding a newborn or a romantic embrace. You cannot create love if it is not there, and you cannot get rid of it if it is. Love is in every country in the world, and in those of every faith, and even those of no faith, although I believe that where love is, faith is not far behind.

Love is so many things. It is passion. It is trust. Love is holding those you love, calling them, e-mailing them, sending them cards. It is comforting the grieving, helping those less fortunate, encouraging anyone you can in the daily struggles of life. Love is laughter with friends, crying with those in pain, and sometimes, love is simply being silent together. Love is touching and being touched, whether it is making love or holding the hand of an elderly disabled nursing home resident. Love is giving, forgiving, and honesty, and it is acting on the basis of those convictions—actions speak louder than words. Love is working through the hard times because the good times are worth the price.

And when love is lacking, it is the depths of barrenness and despair. Perhaps it is what one dear friend meant when she once told me that I had a hole in my heart that only God was big enough to fill. The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins, and whether you believe in the Bible or not, this is true.

I believe that love is a choice, because commanded love is meaningless, and the opposites of hate, fear, jealousy, and the like simply make us understand more fully the beauty and power of love. Most of us make a ton of mistakes before really learning to love, and some people never do learn. We all are on a never-ending search for love, for more love, for a more perfect love, and all the other details of life are superficial, or become so as our years lengthen.

I’ve not heard it put more poetically than the lyrics of a song by Annie Lennox:

Money can’t buy it, Sex can’t buy it

Drugs can’t buy it, You can’t buy it

. . .

Take the power to set you free

Kick down the door and throw away the key

Give up your needs, your poisoned seeds

Find yourself elected to a different kind of creed

. . .

I believe that love alone might do these things for you

I believe that love alone might do these things for you

I believe in the power of creation, I believe in the good vibration

I believe in love alone, yeah, yeah . . .

I’ve been around for almost fifty years, now. From the mid-American farm lands, I chased my dreams to the urban east coast. I have four degrees from elite universities, including a J.D. and masters in tax law. I ride a motorcycle and love animals and football. I’ve talked with prison inmates, children and adults, who’ve never known my kind of life. I know some homeless people—do you? I’ve achieved far more than I ever dreamed as a youth, and I’ve struggled far more than I ever dreamed. After all is said and done, I still believe that love is the most powerful, most enduring, and most sought-after thing in our existence, even among those who don’t believe in God or in love. I believe in love alone, yeah, yeah . . .