verb 1 a: to have a firm religious faith b: to accept as true, genuine, or real 2: to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something
transitive verb1 a: to consider to be true or honest b: to accept the word or evidence of*
I believe in believing. I know, it sounds overly simple, maybe even quircky or corny. But it’s quite complicated. After all, it’s not easy to believe: to maintain a “firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something”, or someone. It’s often difficult to “accept the word or evidence” provided us, or to keep a “firm religious faith”, especially in these days of global turmoil. I witness or experience tragedy and my faith in humanity, or sometimes my faith in G-d, is shaken. Friends and leaders let me down and I wonder why I invest emotionally in people. Even those I love most, and who love me most – my parents, my children, my husband – hurt or disappoint me from time to time. So why continue to believe at all – in anything? How do I teach my children to believe when I feel so jaded, bitter and pessimistic?
When I’ given up hope, when I’ve judged humanity, my friends, my family and sentenced them all to hard time, then there’s no one left to judge but myself. Once I turn the mirror of judgment on myself I see that I, too, have been guilty of cruelty in my life, of letting friends down, of disappointing loved ones. It takes courage to admit these crimes, but I can’t hide from myself – I must confess. So what does that mean? Did I expect forgiveness from others? Can I ever forgive myself? Do I “believe” in myself, in my own “goodness, efficacy and ability”? Do I considered myself “to be true or honest”? Am I a “true, genuine, or real” person, friend, partner?
Nothing can restore my self-belief more than doing a mitzvah, or good deed. Of course, doing for others reaffirms my own sense of “goodness”. But equally important or, dare I say, more importantly, the process of re-engaging with others in performing acts of charity provides the eye-opening opportunity to witness kindness, generosity and the abundant love that exists in our world. It instantly renews and strengthens my optimism and reaffirms my belief in humanity and G-d and allows me to guide my children toward tomorrow knowing why I am, simply put, a — be•liev•er noun.
* Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary