This I Believe

Teniola - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on October 24, 2007

I believe that doubt helps us learn what we believe.

When I turned 14 in the winter of 2004, my birthday was plagued with the news that my father would be leaving for Iraq in 6 months. I could hardly believe it. My dad in a war zone? My anger and fear turned first and most viciously to God who, at the time, played a major role in my everyday life. I couldn’t understand how He could find this a suitable situation for a family that lived and breathed his word. When my father left that June, something inside of me also left. With every call and “I miss you so much, Dad,” My spiritual light dimmed and halfway through the summer, eventually burned out.

But while I was doubting, I was also learning. My emotional and intellectual limits were tested harder than ever. I learned that I was a person who simply could not believe in something that I can not see. Some say that they pity me; others say that rationality and logic are what make the world go round. All I could be sure of was my new desire to be open to all people and all things.

I wish that I could say that I have everything figured out and that the world has willingly presented it’s secrets to me. But unlike most stories, mine does not end happily or tragically because it is still not over and the answers to life’s most frequently asked questions are still well kept. My beliefs currently do not include the Christian doctrine but they do involve one basic moral principle: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.

I believe that people will always have trouble agreeing to disagree. But somehow, that’s okay. With 6 billion people living on Earth, each with their own set or morals and experiences, living harmoniously seems, and often proves to be, a challenge. But we can all live a little easier if we treat each other with respect, empathy and accept the complications of belief and of doubt.