This I Believe

Chitralekha - Tempe, Arizona
Entered on February 4, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that there is a power greater than humans that rules over this earth. Now, I am not religious and never have been. My late mother, who had an unshaken faith in God, had to put up with my attempts to shake her faith. As a teenager, it embarrassed me that she participated in rituals like fasting; it made me so uncool in front of my friends. My late father had his own way of worshipping; food for the gods and goddesses he worshipped, as well as for the departed people he considered saints. I never understood why my parents could not be what I considered scientific and logical like other family members, as well as parents of my friends, and it resulted in many uncomfortable conversations, even confrontations, with them. I lost the battles, though.

Yet at the back of my mind, in the midst of these battles, I always wondered about the miracle of life on earth. How did life begin? There must have been a creator, I told myself. But why could not I see him? And if he was here, why did he allow bad things to happen to good people? Maybe he was a she, which might mean she was not as powerful as I had assumed. But at least she let us live, I told myself. And breathe. And communicate. And walk. And sing. And breathe the flowers. And get well. And make friends. It really added up.

Age and maturity gave me this perspective on life. I realized that life is not about getting rewarded whenever we did a job well. An act of kindness may not result in instant gratification, but its wings spread far and wide, and its waves ripple through multiple lives. An act of hatred may go unpunished on the surface, but it affects the conscience of the perpetrator and of all mankind. It has to. This can only happen because there is a higher power, man or woman, who looks over us and guides us in our life’s journey. He or she is there not only in the soul of the Pope and of Mother Teresa, but also in the lives of the men, women and children of Darfur, in the lives of the rich and famous as well as of the poor and desperate. This power is present in the brooks and streams of our environment, as well as in the concrete jungles we live in and in the air that we breathe.

How can there not be somebody? How can humans be without a parent? Despite all the failings of life on earth, there is a method to our madness. Despite catastrophes and tragedies, life continues. We fall into depths, but rise to new heights the next day. Loss of life is followed by successful births. We have peaks and valleys, and triumphs and downfalls. I believe that none of this would be possible without a higher power more powerful than human beings. We cannot see him or her, but, if we take the time and look carefully, I believe we can feel this power. All we need to do is look carefully. You were right, Mom and Dad.