This I Believe

ruth - Alexandria, Virginia
Entered on June 1, 2007

THIS I BELIEVE

I believe that we can make of our world the good that we choose to perceive.

In the year I was born, Nazi troops marched into Poland. The invasion marked the beginning of a madness that still reverberates in the soul and bones of our present-day world. But in that same year, movie houses showed, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion and Toto skipping merrily down a road made of yellow brick — and into our hearts. Even today we smile at the very thought of their adventure. A mystic born in what is now the West Bank told the story of a man on a country road who was mugged, but was rescued in time by someone from Samaria. Now the Samaritans were a feared and hated lot – perhaps like the followers of a certain son of Ladin today. In the concrete depth of an urban neighborhood, children yearning for sunshine and music have been given hope by amazing people we know who have opened centers for arts and music right in those children’s streets. The efforts of these adults of vision are not often publicized, yet every homicide in the city is.

The world can certainly seem like a scary place. I believe we make it more so by how we choose to perceive events that surround us. Last week, my husband and I stopped listening to the news first thing in the morning because I was tired of waking up to death tolls at 7 AM. Now we listen to Mozart or Vivaldi, five minutes of poetry on NPR and only then – world news.

There is good news out there, but we have to find it. Scary news, horror stories, disasters – natural and unnatural — are ubiquitous. But good news, comforting news, inspiring stories happen concurrently, if we would only look for them. I know we can’t exist under a giant cheese bell and ignore the wasteful war in our midst or the breakdown of decency. To counter-balance a fearful world, we can choose to bring into our minds and into our lives whatsoever things are good.