I have never been overly fond of the word believe. I didn’t know why; I just felt like it was a dangerous word. Maybe I felt that way because I grew up in a Bible believing, hell fire and brimestone preaching, sodom and gomorrah teaching church. Beliefs always seemed to have the most dire consequences. If you didn’t believe their way, God was going to strike you dead or kill you with cancer or some other dreaded horrific fate would befall you when you least expected it. While watching the most forgettable movie “Dogma”, I finally found a kindred soul in the most unlikeliest of actors and characters, Chris Rock and his character Rufus. Rock and the character Bethany are sitting in a diner discussing their “mission”. Rock’s character, Rufus is asked about God and what he thinks about humanity these days and Rufus replies “He (meaning God) still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the *&^% that gets carried out in His name – wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.” Then he’s asked “aren’t beliefs good?” To which Rufus replies, ” I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant.” At that very moment I had an epiphany and I’ve done my level best to live my life in the spaces of ideas. When I started listening to “this I believe” though, I had to take a step back and re-evaluate my position. Did I believe in anything? Anything I could share? What was even worth believing in? A few nights ago on my lanai I decided I do believe in somethings. I decided the things I choose to believe in and share with others are simple, universal and always make me smile. Sure I have beliefs about the 4 unspoken subjects my dad insisted were not for open public discussion: religion, money, politics and love. But those beliefs are mine and mine alone and we’d all be better off if everyone held Pop’s philosophy. These are my beliefs for the world to know:
I believe in the sweet smell of a baby’s soft head.
I believe in the healing power of puppy kisses.
I believe that things always seem more daunting at night.
I believe that everyone needs to owe someone for something.
I believe that old people and children keep us honest.
I believe that everyone deserves a day off even when you’re still at work.
I believe that only rich people say money isn’t everything.
I believe music, art and beauty belong to us all.
I believe that life REALLY is TOO short and for too many people it’s too hard.
I believe that no matter what else I do in this life having a daughter that loves me makes me the luckiest woman in the world.
At the end of the day, I think it’s okay to believe. It’s what you do with your beliefs that makes all the difference.
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