This I Believe

Ruth - Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 9, 2006
Age Group: 65+

I believe in goodness and that those whose lives exemplify it have an inner freedom and contentment. I think of goodness as the practice of longing and working for the wholeness of all persons and the planet we share.

(I also believe in evil, but I don’t know how to think about it, much less write about it.)

I believe in human love. I’ve experienced it. Rather like the impulses that leap across synapses in the brain, there can happen an electrifying sense of connection, a kind of holy communion. And it can extend beyond personal relationships to include distressed people we do not know, demonstrated for all of us on 9-11-01. Love, like goodness, is inexplicable in scientific terms. Both are part of the mystery that I call God.

Yes, I believe in God, the slumbering God in every person that Quakers describe. Sometimes I feel it in me, nudging me to act for others. And because I was nurtured in the Christian way, I find it most compellingly as the luminous fire in the life of Jesus.

Somewhere in the Bible it says that the Holy Spirit blows where it wills. This is for me a way of saying that the unfettered God Spirit is abroad in the universe available to searching souls everywhere. I am reminded of this verse from my childhood:

Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I.

But when the trees bow down their heads,

The wind is passing by.

Thus the unseeable God is often confirmed for me through the inspiring acts of people I know or read about.

But what about the God out there? As a flower turns its face to the sun, people in all ages and cultures have looked to a power beyond themselves in what, borrowing a term from botany, we might call the tropism of worship. This leads me to think that there well may be such a God: a Something I can beat my fists against in anger or supplication, and a receiver of my wondering gratitude. In the extremity of need or exultation I certainly act as though I so believe.

God is for me a moving target. Sometimes I speculate that, as a kind of Oversoul, God has developed through time, matching Darwin’s biological evolution with a kind of divine evolution. In the end, God is for me both elusive and insistently present.