I believe in the ability of the human spirit to triumph over all adversity and do what is right. I believe in this ability that men can, not the guarantee that men will. There are bad people in the world. There are evil people in the world. There are people in the world who just have made a string of bad decisions. Yet if all humans are tied together by nothing more than the fact we all make bad decisions, then what separates dignified individuals is how when everything around them is in splinters, they choose not to go down with the ship. They choose to rise above and meet or exceed expectations and their own moral reason. There is the strength within each one of us to fight what ills the world may bring, and we must want to tap that strength and keep that strength to keep those ills at bay.
There are many famous incidents of people fighting to do right. Sam Houston left his post of Governor once his state seceded. Non Jewish Europeans fought Nazi oppression in order to save many thousands of would be concentration camp prisoners. Martin Luther King Jr. risked and lost his life to reform American society. These noble deeds exemplify what it means to battle what is wrong and the willingness to die for what is right. But, the strength of these individuals can be seen everyday all around the world.
For the first three years after I was born, my family lived in working poverty in El Paso, Texas. My father started work at 10 at night while my mother slept. She woke at 5 in the morning to go pick him up and go to her job while he and my grandma would split time caring for me. When my mom was done working, my dad would go to school and my mom would take over with me. They split one car and only one made more than $4 an hour, but my parents never collected a welfare check, a food stamp, or free day care. They believed there was no honor or decency in relying on others. Though it would have made life so much easier to take any of these “benefits” they chose instead to simply work harder. They determinedly fought off poverty, and managed to do it their way.
I live and write today because of and with the strength and resolve of the human spirit. It surrounds me and consumes me, therefore I know it exists. Yet in this period where it is the school of thought that all people are created equal, how can some recognize the power each individual possesses and some forsake it as a gift granted to a select few. If all humans are created equal, and some humans show conviction for what is right, then every person born on this planet has the ability to rise above and take a step forward for progress.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.