This I Believe

Stephen - Issaquah, Washington
Entered on April 13, 2007

I believe in the things we share. In fact we share so many things that we have a tendency to focus on the things that make us different or unique. We are very quick to point out differences in size, color, sex, status, ability, religion, age, etc. There is no shortage of attributes that we can use to define each other. But I find comfort in the things that define us, as humans. I like to focus on that which makes us the same instead of that which divides us.

We are used to saying that there are only two things certain in life, death and taxes. But we share so many common experiences in our lives simply because they are certain. Throughout our lives, we cannot escape what it feels like to succeed and what it means to fail. We are certain to be drawn to love and to hate. All of us will feel good about a hard day’s work and a sense of accomplishment. And during our lives we all have felt underpaid and over worked. We have all been falsely accused, mistreated, and abused. And we have all been the accusers and the abusers.

You would think that these common experiences would create a certain compassion for each other knowing that we have all fought similar battles with similar feelings. Instead we concentrate on how these experiences have shaped and misshaped each of us differently.

But the things we share are not limited to the experiences we share. We all share the ability to choose between right and wrong. We share the ability to decide what to believe in. And fundamentally we all believe in the same things. We all believe in love and compassion. We all see the good in doing good to others. We all value friendship, honesty, kindness, and sincerity. We all aspire to acts of sacrifice, courage, and strength. We all want to find passion and peace. We all appreciate a smile, a wave, and a beautiful day. And we all know we can not live well without forgiveness.

These are the things we share. These are the foundations of humanity. These are the foundations of any religion and the measurement of all that is good. These make up the God that lives within us all.

While we struggle to identify ourselves by our differences, we forget the common foundation that binds us together. While we use our differences to justify our actions against each other, we neglect to act for the common good. While the world seems to focus on the things that divide us, I choose to believe in the things we share.