I heard the series was ending and I am disappointed but Everything ends. I have written several essays I never had the nerve to submit.
In 1970, I met the Black football player who became my husband at a college in East Texas. i am white and was relatively naive about some things but I immediately knew when after several long conversations he asked me out that I had two things to decide. First would I go? Second what did I believe about him as a Black person? I vigorously supported the notion of everyone created equal and civil rights but now I needed to act and in that moment I understood that to believe was fine and good but the actions driven by belief were what make up a life.
I’ve written essays about music , libraries, being Southern, the gift of living with and giving birth to humans who are visibly different from you and what that means in America. As your series winds down I realized that my most strongly held belief is in belief itself.
I believed that the love my husband and I found is neither common nor ordinary. This helped me to hold on to my marriage through substance abuse, parental disapproval and society’s disdain. Thirty nine years later we are still going strong. I believed that marriage is a lifetime commitment and that drove my actions to make it work.
My younger son has mental illness issues that have brought him first to the criminal justice system then to five years in the state hospital. he has made it to college, football and may be well enough to be fully released. I believed this was possible so we have supported him fully through this and realize the nature of mental illness makes this a lifetime commitment as well.
I spent thirty one years working in Human services because I believe no one in America should go to bed hungry. I quickly understood that society does not value these activities but that the help we give people is real and necessary. The beliefs I have about Human services drove the way I acted with clients and co-workers.
So what I believe in is belief and that few actions are not founded by a belief. The men who flew airplanes into buildings had beliefs that drove those actions. These beliefs were stronger that steel, glass and concrete. If your series has contributed anything to our consciousness I hope that we have learned to stop and examine our beliefs and those of others because from understanding belief, actions can be changed.
Just had to say this. thanks for the series.