This I Believe

Virginia - Asheville, North Carolina
Entered on April 9, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

This I Believe I believe that life is, in essence, good, even if I can’t necessarily attribute the “good” to any particular force or power. This good leads us as humans to caring—about ourselves, about others, about our fellow creatures furry, fuzzy, big and small; about our earth. I believe that goodness connects us—we are most human when we are most caring, and we are most caring when we connect with that sense of goodness.

And I believe that you-know-what happens. Sometimes really bad you-know-what. And when it does, I believe in the healing process. And though I believe that healing is possible, I also believe what we become after great pain or loss is a composite of who we were, what we’ve lost, and who we are now in light of that loss. Can a woman really heal after losing one or both breasts to cancer? Can a parent’s heart ever heal after losing a child? I’m not sure, but I do believe that there is room for loss and for grief and for the possibility of recovery and that we should live with the awareness of this roomy possibility.

I believe in spaciousness. This spaciousness is what makes it possible for healing, from our losses, from our pasts.

And while I believe that there is more in our lives, in our worlds, than our eyes can see, than our ears can hear, than our noses can smell, than our tongues can taste, than our bodies can experience, I also believe that what there is to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is as profound and as much of a gift as that which transcends the sensory experience. I believe we are physical and spiritual beings, and as such, should celebrate both realms whenever we get a chance.

I believe in sugar and that there is only one real sugar and no legitimate sugar substitutes. I believe that some days warrant sweetness and soft music and a glass of wine at day’s end, for comfort, for pleasure. I believe in pleasure—not the kind that supersedes all other considerations, but the kind that makes us feel renewed and recharged, able to face another day that holds who knows what, pleasure that we can feel deserving of because we know that we’re doing the best job we can and we don’t have to always pretend that there’s nothing we deserve.

I believe that we should always be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle.

I believe that some people’s battles are more challenging than others’.

And I believe that, yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

I believe in gratitude, springing at times from unlikely places for perhaps the most basic of objects: eyelashes, in my sister’s case, that had fallen out after chemotherapy for her breast cancer: “I’m so happy to have my eyelashes!” she offered, applying mascara to what chemo had stolen from her but which healing had returned, tears of gratitude easing down her cheeks.

I believe in gratitude’s cousin, generosity. I believe that those who have should help those who have not: the rich should help the poor, the strong should help the weak, the generous should help the selfish. I believe that generosity was a gift that was nurtured in me as a parent, and I hope this gift has carried over into my adult daughters’ lives. I need to believe this in order to feel that my own worth as a parent has had value.

I believe in Wilbur the pig and his friend Charlotte and in E.B. White who so eloquently told the tale of this unlikely friendship. I believe that reading is fundamental, and that writing can save a person’s soul. And I believe it’s very bad luck to kill spiders, and most other living creatures of the earth (ticks and mosquitoes excepted).

I believe in justice, which includes sharing with and caring for all people of all ethnicities of all shapes of all economic status of all orientations. I believe, as the bumper sticker says, that “Everyone does better when everyone does better.” I believe that it may take a while before humanity realizes this simple and basic principle, but when it does, when the fighting and the greed and the ugliness that’s been created become intolerable, that a new world will take shape where people will finally live free and unenslaved and unoppressed and in harmony with all of creation. I also believe in fairy tales, and I’m not sure that this scenario is not a fairy tale, but even if it is, fairy tales are OK and are as worthy as anything else of believing in.

I believe that if justice does not prevail and if babies are born who aren’t given a right to love, that we will have a world peopled by those whose caring falls short of what will be necessary to carry on our species. That said, I do not believe that the continuation of our species is inevitable or necessary; the universe can continue to creatively evolve with or without humanity. I hope, though, that we can work out some sort of deal.

I believe in forgiveness and think that at this juncture of human and earthly evolution, it may be our only hope.

I believe that the only question God may ask of us as we enter into heaven is, “So, did you have a good time?”

I believe in community, but I also believe that it’s possible to have a rich life and be an introvert.

I believe in good food and good books and good feline companions.

I believe there’s much to life that we’ll never understand. I believe that I understand less every day. I believe that understanding less could be a sign or wisdom, or a sign of dementia. I hope for the former.

I believe that if we paid more attention to what’s important in life that we’d see a richness that we’re otherwise blind to. I believe it’s human nature to always want what we don’t have, to want more or different. I believe we’re afraid of finding out that we don’t really have to keep searching. What then would we do?

I believe in the simple things in life: a good strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning, a warm bed at the end of the day. These are signs of life’s riches. And until the next unexpected curveball heads my way and uproots my life and my beliefs, I believe I’ll try to enjoy this day and this moment.

Small disclaimer: I believe that what I believe is what I believe because I choose to believe it and not because of any objective reality that would support what I believe.

And I believe that this is, for now, the end…