This I Believe

Melissa - Croton on Hudson, New York
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: love, tolerance


Over the years I have wondered. I have read. I have heard about Armageddon; the end, the anti-Christ. For a while I feared it would happen in the year 2000. That I would be living through history, a tumultuous time full of violence, death and destruction as mankind suffered the outcome of its generic misuse of power, money, technology and abuse to the planet not to mention the pain and suffering mankind has bestowed upon itself over the century because of selfishness, greed and disrespect. “Let the bomb land on my head,” I used to say. I wouldn’t want to live through it. But as time passed and the year 2000 came and went, I began to think that perhaps I was wrong and everything would indeed be “OKAY.”

I was beginning to believe that the universal goodness of mankind was perhaps more powerful than I had imagined and maybe, just maybe it was strong enough to overpower the negative forces and we could survive and prosper despite our faults and troubles. I was beginning to think that if some “event” were to happen, that perhaps it was off in the distant future. So distant that I would be gone by the time it arrived. Then came 9/11; a nightmare began.

I’m one of those types always asking why and what and how come? As a result of my own personal mid-life crisis, I’ve been asking a lot of questions about what my life means. Have I accomplished anything worthwhile? Does my life matter in any way shape or form? Sure, I’ve had small successes, good friends, a loving family. But I’ve always felt that somehow I have failed to attain “it”; whatever “it” is. Will I leave anything worthwhile behind? Then the monumental terrorist attack happened and thousands of innocent people died, and thousands of survivors lent a helping hand to aid in recovery as the disaster unfolded. And what did I do? I tried to give blood, but was told that they had enough, try again later. I prayed. I cried for days. No one I knew perished. But I could not stop thinking about the people on the planes; the people in the towers, the mothers, the fathers, the sons, the daughters, the brothers, the sisters, the aunts the uncles, the friends! Why, why, why? I did not feel anger, only grief and frustration and guilt. I’m grateful I was spared but at the same time wonder why? Who gets chosen to die and who gets chosen to live? WHAT THE HELL WAS HAPPENING!?

What we are facing? Our nation is great and I am proud to be an American, but we are not perfect. Is there anything to learn from this tragedy? My worries about my own personal success, my lack of a financial security, my career seem so trivial now. The gift, if I may be so bold to say, that comes from such a tremendous tragedy is a reminder of something we already know. Those who perished will not be remembered for the jobs they held or the money they earned. They will be remembered for who they were and what they gave to their loved ones and the world. Those who lost their lives left us with a deep void in our hearts and once again, what really matters was made clear.

So what do we do now? Our leaders responded with retaliation. Terrorism must be stopped. But for those of us leading civilian lives, for those who cannot go to war, who cannot directly battle terrorism, what do we do? Is ours a simple choice? We do not need guns, we do not need weapons that maim and kill. We need gentle weapons in the face of hatred. The weapons of tolerance, understanding, acceptance, patience, compassion, concern, light; the weapon of an open heart.

For generations mankind has underestimated the power of hate and terror. September 11, 2001 is proof of that. So, too have we underestimated the power of its opposite. Yes, the power of love. The way America and the world came together in a tragic time was astonishing and overwhelming. Why does it take such a heinous act for us to forget our differences and join together as one people? It is puzzling. But so too, it is a great opportunity. Perhaps it is our hope to stop the terror. Aren’t we all responsible for this tragedy in some small way? Could it be the negative thoughts and actions of a nation, of a world and its people is what fuels the energy that drives the terrorist? If this is so, then we must all reach deep within ourselves; face our own demons, negative thoughts, actions, and judgments and ask how our own hearts are blocked from the flow of light and love. It began with the world’s response to the attack on humanity. What other choice do we have? For those who know this truth, we must give witness to it. We must stop being “embarrassed” by our “soft touch” approach to life and rejoice in it, share it, spread it around. It is a mighty weapon against terror and hatred.

Whatever your belief in God, The Light, Buddha, The Higher Power; pray for enlightenment, strength and wisdom. With a sincere heart, the answers will come; the way will be made clear. Imagine a world fueled by the energy of positive thought and action. Imagine a world fueled with the energy of light and love. It has all been said before. And perhaps now is the time for the light and love that burns in the soul of humanity to walk across the dark shadows of terror and hatred and light our world’s path to peace and tranquility.

Lyrics written with hope to find music for them….someday


Countless souls among the crowds

Simple lives and free

Taken fast as hatred flew

While all the world would see

Never gone, you’ll always be

The unknown and the brave

With your light we’ll march ahead

Our freedom we must save

Now’s the time to look inside

Don’t’ miss this giving chance

It’s simple what we all can do

Our love’s the world’s last dance

We all sometimes lose our way

When darkness masks the light

Souls sink deep, and hope is gone

We fear we’ve lost the fight

Then someone lends a helping hand

A touch like sunshine felt

The warmth of love dissolves the pain

And troubles slowly melt

Reach out your hand, look inside

Know that we’re all one

A smile will do or just hello

That’s all that need be done

Make room for joy and light of day

Give a place for peace to start

Remember why we all are here

To walk with open heart

Come on world, now’s the time

Don’t miss this giving chance

Grab a dream, catch a star

Our love’s the world last dance.