I first wrote this “I Believe” statement 13 years ago when I was turning 40.
My life has been no more and no less extraordinary than the next person’s. I’ve had my share of good, bad, sad, worse, and wonderful times. I treasure them all. If I reassess all those times, they fall into two categories: living and dying. Together they form the circle of life.
I believe in the circle of life. We weren’t asked if we wanted to be here-we are here. What we do or don’t do while we are here is what is important. We can wonder where we came from or where we will go but here is now. It all goes by too fast and you become a memory. I have accepted religion as life–sacred, special, worthy of thought and worship. I believe in the legacy of people and ideas.
The journey around the circle need not be lonesome, burdensome, all uphill or downhill or even mostly unplanned. From beginning to end, though, it’s what’s in the middle that counts.
Around my circle, life keeps on revealing itself-I believe in revelation. Around my circle an idea is rejuvenated or upgraded or tossed out-I believe in renewal. I believe history (whether in the stories of a special book, by word of mouth, or past moments in other’s lives) has shown its importance and its usefulness in unraveling the future.
I believe the answers to questions we have do not lie in one book or come from one source or come prewritten in the sand.
I believe in an interdependent web of knowledge, ability, and action. The web weaves your circle-where would I be today were it not for those people, books, and places that contribute to me as I contribute to other people’s web of tears, laughter and legacy.
So, I believe that life is a journey and your religion is how you live your life. I believe in living values: like respect, honesty, love, and forgiveness. And before I die, I want to weave my web and leave some stories.
Think back to the stories that you carry on your shoulders: like: tell me a story mommy; or read that story again, momma; or where do we come from, nanny; or any of those “remember whens” from an older brother or great-aunt. Take yourself back in time and what you will come up with are memories: of joy, love, sadness, death, lessons learned, and then share them–pass on your piece of the web, the spirit, the circle.
I believe in the spirit of creating: building on, adding to, regrouping, teaching. And yes, the spirit is beyond something I can touch but it is not beyond something I can feel or need. This spirit is the spirit that moves us, guides us, and propels us.
I believe in caring and beyond caring, we have to use our most precious tool: our minds. Take a journey through questions to anywhere. Where you eventually will go is through the door of knowledge and the quality of your life will be enriched. I believe in the old line-give a man a fish and you feed him for a day–teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Past religious beliefs and associations as well as personal studies hold open the door to the circle for me. This allows me to go forward in an ever-revealing, ever-reawakening, ever-challenging world- my circle. I believe in knowledge, experience, and action. I want to take what I think I know and enact my values into everyday living-every day is a mysterious gift.
In the Bible you won’t find a creed or theological formula for a religion, but what you will find is a framework for many of the ideas and duties you cherish. In the Bible, Micah relates the answer to what is required of a religion by noting simply to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your god. Better yet, take a story we’ve all heard: Noah and the ark. It’s the story of a vision, of a man called to action, of difficult circumstances, of patience, of perseverance, of caring, of time, of hope: a way to live our lives!
Finally I believe in: being fulfilled by a job well done, feeling safe and secure in the love and friendship of others, being a part of the circle, challenge, rootedness (a sense of place as well as the ability to grow and bend), reverence for life, thoughts, and the earth, inspiration (from others to others and in experience), freedom, and wisdom (as it comes).
I believe in reality. As I travel on my life’s journey, knowing not what the years may hold, “precious moments are revealed”. Life is a gift so live while you can, learn what you can, be glad about what you can, and share what you can.