This I Believe
I believe in humans need for human understanding..
While watching a cable television documentary on the final hours of the Jonestown mass suicide, I couldn’t help but contemplate the absolute, desperate human need for help and attention that would drive nine hundred and nine seemingly ordinary people, people with young children, people with seemingly ordinary spouses who, presumably, never wanted anything but to love and protect their families from the cruelties of a world that had somehow left them tired and powerless to give the one thing that clung them together like grapes on a vine, their very lives, to a madman, was more than I could bear.
After wiping the tears of remorse for the lost ones on that Guiana morning in 1978, I immediately went to my wife who was watching the same program from our sofa and kissed her on the cheek and held onto her for dear life. Looking at me curiously, she asked me if I was, in fact, afraid of her joining a cult and leaving me, to which I replied “no, I just appreciate you” , just because I needed to tell her.
In these cynical, polarized, sound byte driven, YouTube watching days of the early 21st century, we carry a need for understanding like the world on the back of Atlas. Where the most sincere and delicate of inner conflicts can be chopped and channeled into an easy to digest snippet that’s suitable to watch on our cell phones or laptops. A time where our one greatest need is to be held by the ones we love and told that the sharp, dangerous world, for one moment, won’t hurt us.
I believe that hearts can be opened, that the need for love and understanding be filled like the bowl of a homeless person on a soup line, that there should never be a soul so desperate, so helpless, where the knowing ingestion of poison by my wife and my son at the bequest of a deranged mind seems like the right, and proper thing to do.
I will hold my wife again tonight, as I will my son. I will do this with all of the love and understanding I can muster, and knowing if something were to go “bump” in the night, be prepared to have plenty of blankets and flashlights.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.