This I Believe

Lindy - Maryville, Tennessee
Entered on April 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

When I was younger, I felt like I had a firm grip on the truths of the world. My mommy was perfect and would always protect me. I was capable of doing anything if I wanted it enough. God was making sure the world was turning as it should. And one day I would meet my soul mate.

My doubts about the world’s certainty began to increase as I grew older. I read a book—Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael—that made me question my religion. That, in turn, made me question my whole world. It wasn’t the book, really. I’m sure there are any number of things that could have sparked my questioning. The point was that I finally saw a viewpoint different from my own, and it was intelligent and valid. It was a little thing, really, just this one page describing the story of Eden as an allegorical narrative. So simple, and yet, something clicked in my mind, and I realized that I had been taking my religion too literally. I had been taking my whole world too literally.

I went through all the stages—denial, bargaining, anger, despair, and finally, acceptance. After raging against God for a while, and then feeling abandoned, I gradually began to feel at ease with the idea that I am not in control of my world, and I cannot understand it. I do not claim to know that there is no god; rather, I don’t think anyone can really know the truth about God, if such a being exists. There is very little that any of us can know for sure. Many people are frightened by the idea of not knowing; it is always more comforting to believe in something—anything—than it is to believe in nothing. But I do believe in something. I believe in possibility.

I believe there are multiple answers to every question, even if it seems like there is only one. I believe that the life I lead has not been carved out for me; rather, I believe life is what I make of it. I believe there is no way to know if the path you’ve chosen will be the right one. But you can’t let that keep you from choosing a path.

I no longer believe the perfect man is waiting for me somewhere; but I have found a man I love dearly, and he is perfect for me in his own way. Maybe one day I will look in another man’s eyes and wonder what my life would be like with him. That fear used to keep me from enjoying my present. But now I realize that even though life is full of endless possibilities, you cannot live them all. You can only realize a few possibilities in your lifetime. And you can never know if you are living the best life you could. You can only make the life you’re living the best it can be.