I believe in living until I die. I believe that this is my only life and that when I am gone I am gone. Forever. The end. No going back, or doing it over, or begging and bribing Peter to let me through the Pearly Gates. No divine forgiveness, or final judgment, or what-ifs and wish-I-hads. I believe in doing what feels right, and in deciding, every day, to improve myself by doing little things that don’t really seem to matter in the moment.
I do not know the precise moment during which this belief became a part of me, but I do know that I have never believed in God, or in heaven, or in hell, and so I suppose that I have always felt that it is my right to enjoy my one life and that it is my duty as a human being, not as the subject of an omniscient being, to do everything that I can to experience as much of life for as long as I can.
I intend to experience everything, and I am aware that this will not be possible if I try to do it alone. If I, myself, cannot do something, I will allow myself to be taught by the words of a person who could. And in return, I feel that I am obligated to put my experiences into words for those who can never experience those things that I can and will. I will never read all of the books or write all of the words that live inside of me, but I will try until I die.
So, no, I don’t believe in God, or in heaven, or in hell, but I do believe in human possibility, the magnificence of living life to the fullest, the magic inside of every book, the importance of constant human interaction, and learning something new every day of my life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.