I thought I had a secure set of beliefs until at age 32 on March 30, 1989, my entire foundation crumbled in a heartbeat. Our two oldest children Ryan, nearly 11, and Lauren, 7, were killed in a car accident where I was the responsible driver. I had to rebuild my foundation brick by brick and it started with a letter from a perfect stranger. A kind man, Dr. John Mishriki, whose wife had recently died in childbirth, wrote my husband and I a lengthy letter offering hope to fellow strugglers. He suggested that our children still exist in a spiritual world adjacent to ours that we cannot see. He offered a passage from 2nd Corinthians as proof: “For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
In my new unbearably harsh and strange world of grief and guilt, I needed something concrete so my distracted mind could focus and continue the journey. This short Bible verse became the perfect starting point to set priorities for survival. It centered me. I began to divide my world into two categories: the seen and the unseen. The seen world, such as beauty, bodies, jewelry, houses, cars, clocks, money and lots of stuff, did not seem very important because they were just temporary. In contrast, the unseen world seemed endless when you thought of what it included: GOD, deceased relatives, LOVE, spiritual beings, kindness, faith, peace, heaven, air, truth, etc. This instantly gave me real hope. In my vulnerable bereaved state I desperately wanted to believe that Ryan and Lauren lived on somewhere. Because I now believed that the unseen world goes on forever, it seemed that the invisible was paramount to everything on Earth—so it super ceded all “things” with a capital T.
Now it’s been 18 years since Ryan and Lauren passed on and I still have this philosophy for living. I talk to my deceased children, family, friends and GOD everyday like they are somehow veiled in the same room with me. I discuss daily problems with ancestors and former mentors often and most answers come to me—somehow. This communication is a tremendous source of strength for me. Sure, I often get depressed, anxious and frustrated but I’m never without hope because of my connection to these souls. I am not afraid of death, as I believe in heaven hook, line and sinker. For me, there is no doubt. I figure even if I die and I’m wrong – so what? – this one belief brought me great comfort and joy every single day of my life on Earth.
As I’ve matured with this belief in the unseen, I’ve chosen to focus on two; Love and Knowledge as the most important unseen entities. I want to teach my children my creed for living, which is “to seek and spread love and knowledge.” In my mind, I firmly believe that all of life’s problems (war, poverty, domestic violence, hate, climate change, space travel, whatever!), no matter how hopeless, can be solved by these two elements. To me, God is Love after all, while people’s hatred is the polar opposite – evil. I think hate comes from the lack of knowledge. Therefore, Love and Knowledge will conquer all in the end (If there is an end!).
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.