This I Believe

Diane - Round Hill, Virginia
Entered on September 4, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

Not long ago I spoke to the father of one of the teenage boys I worked with at my church. He said to me, “I don’t get it. Why does he do clowning with you anyway? Most boys his age are into sports and other things, but clowning?” My thoughts instantly connected with the Clown’s Prayer:

“As I stumble through this life,

Help me create more laughter than tears,

Dispense more cheer than gloom,

Spread more cheer than despair.”

“I wish you could see your son when he enters a hospital room as his clown-self, “I replied. “A patient will look up at him, and no matter how sick the patient may be a smile will always creep upon his face. Did you know that when someone’s mood changes from being depressed to becoming more cheerful that the person actually begins to feel better?” The look on this father’s face told me he still did not understand. I explained further, “Your son has been doing clowning with me for years, ever since he was a little boy. Even then I could see that he has empathy for those who are sick or disabled, or just shut-in at home with little contact with the outside world.”

“Never let me become so indifferent,

That I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,

Or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.”

A painful look came across this father’s face. It was then that I learned the family had once lost a child, a younger son when he was just a toddler. Perhaps, I thought, this teenage clown who so willingly gives of his time to go with me to hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and residences where shut-ins seldom have visitors experiences much more than just empathy. He truly understands the pain and sadness experienced by others. He makes a unique, compassionate connection with people who are suffering.

“Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,

Make them happy, and forget momentarily,

All the unpleasantness in their lives.”

This is what I truly believe. We only have one life on this earth. How we spend it is up to us. But when my time on earth has ended, I hope that I experience:

“In my final moment,

May I hear You whisper;

“When you made My people smile,

You made Me smile.”

Note: the author of The Clown’s Prayer is anonymous. Retrieved September 4, 2008 from’s_Prayer