This I Believe

marilyn - Falmouth, Massachusetts
Entered on April 12, 2008

As a kid back in the days when there were still bible readings in schools I loved to hear the psalm that began “make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands… this includes the phrase, it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves… To me this is a reminder of two things… it is easier to be happy and try to see the brighter side of things but to keep in mind that while we think we are in control of our destiny a split second can upend what seems like a well planned course. (think being rear ended as I recently was by a drunk driver)… I certainly wasnt in control of that scene… I was in the wrong place at the wrong time…It makes clear that random things happen… that we have not planned for. Whether you see a divine plan or a random universe, the bottom line is that we are not completely in control. .. so make the most of joy while you have it. Edith Wharton summed this idea up in a quote I keep at my desk…

“In spite of illness,in spite of the arch enemy sorrow,one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.. I truly believe that small pleasures make a huge difference in world view… anything from watching the huge yellow spring moon -rise of a few days ago , to the singular cardinal greeting the early morning light with raucous song…

The other psalm recited in our body of prayer has always interested me as a precept and injunction… guide my lips from speaking guile .. and give strength not to respond to adversaries with nastiness… It is really much easier to be nice than nasty… I think of the phenomena on the road of letting someone into a line of traffic and then seeing that person do the same for someone else down the road… Being decent does rub off on others… it may take a while but I think it does work. I have also found that in a challenging situation it is much easier to tell something “like it is” .. perhaps couching it in conciliatory language than to make up a story… even with grim stuff I think people more easily absorb the truth than being told a story that is compromised by guile.

This to me doesnt mean that you have to sandbag someone with your point of views ; but gently lead yourself and them to the reality of a situation.. which brings to mind another quote I enjoy reviewing from time to time… “the real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing in a tempting moment..”. Not at all an easy thing to do but at least something to reach towards achieving..

Being very human the above precepts are the ideal that I try to aim for.. Lots of lapses to be sure, temper does triumph more than once in the day to day grittiness of life… but certainly something to aim towards…. Life can be a challenge… it can also be what I call a “fun ride” when things go well… ultimately the feeling of being blessed in may ways helps to sustain and hopefully prevails.