This I Believe

Marie - Austin, Texas
Entered on August 28, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: love, setbacks
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This I Believe

I believe in believing. My parents gifted me with strong principals and an appreciation of spirituality which survivied a life of rough sailing, including the storm of my first marriage to a minister. The realization that ministers are not holy and that churches can be corrupt burst my bubble of naivete about religion and cast me adrift on a sea of possible theologies. I felt compelled to believe in something, so I finally settled on a quazi-agnostic belief in a God whose details don’t matter. Details, dogmas, and differences in too many religions have divided people and caused cruelties beyond belief. From my perspective, the omni-ness of God won’t fit into just one theology or religion. I also believe that if could fully grasp all of God’s characteristics, I’d be a god myself. So, I just cling to one divine characteristic— that of love– and I let the theologists debate the details.

Love comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms of expression. The love expressed to me as a child took less direct forms than demonstrations of affection or approval. With insecurities around affection, I bumbled most of my attempts at relating, which led to myriads of boyfriends and four marriages. My relationship with myself caused the rockiest sailing, through twelve years of suicidal tendencies. For those years and more, the expression of love remained for me a mystery–an occasional gift and my ultimate goal. What’s calmed my stormy relationship sea has been my persistent belief in love and my stubborn persistence.

Yes, I believe in persistence, though I sometimes call it patience or loyalty. When I used to admire many of my Mother’s skills, such as sewing or folding sheets, she always answered with, “Well, I’ve had lots of practice.” I guess I have too, with all those boyfriends and husbands. However, my third husband also became my fourth, current, and last husband, due to his loyalty and to our persistence. My relationship with my parents evolved into an open, caring, and supportive one, because of our persistence and their patience. Despite my many moves through an adventuresome life, I have some loyal and patient long-term friends. After forty years of fighting the gale of an eating disorder, I finally broke free of it, because of my growing and persistent belief in and love for myself.

Of course, love has to start inside of me before it can radiate out to anyone else. The steady-as-she-goes pursuit of my goal to become a healthy, loving person has finally landed me on the peaceful shores of maturity. I still may not personify love, but I like myself, my life, and my relationships. I believe that’s enough for this lifetime.