This I Believe

John - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Entered on August 31, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I would believe if it weren’t so hard to write about.

I have started writing an essay for the National Public Radio (NPR) project called “This I believe” and it is really hard, and it’s making me mad. I like to think that me good writer, but mention This I believe and me no write good…

I’ve tried to start writing this stupid little essay thing several times and each time I go into complete shutdown mode. Part of the problem is that I am trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. I know what I believe and these beliefs are crucial to me and to my identity but when I go to express it I find that there really is no defining moment in my life which made me who I am. I am the sum total of many little moments… Mundane moments – coffee in the mornings, inane moments – hours in front of the X-box, moments of stupidity – drinking to excess, moments of levity – time spent with friends and family, moments of everyday joy – rocking my daughter to sleep, and moments of everyday sadness – the death of my grandfather.

I’ve listened to the stories that the others on NPR have told and they are magnificent. They are everyday heroes. Usually, they have traveled the world, cured some disease, lived through some extraordinary event, experienced intense personal trauma, or they are celebrities.

My life and my beliefs lack all of these elements, and I find that when I go to express my own personal belief that chaotic life-changing events happen continually, incrementally and usually on a scale that is so small it is almost imperceptible, I get sidetracked trying to extrapolate this philosophy into something grander than it is.

This is not to say that I have not had major changes in my life -I have. The birth of my daughter, Sonja, while a miracle and one of the most beautiful moments in my life is, on a grand scale, an everyday occurrence. It may change and shape the rest of my life, but its impact in the grand scheme of life is small.

Hmmm, between 350 and 500 words for the essay and right now I am at 368… it looks like I may have tricked myself into writing this essay.