|One page essays of deeply held convictions modeled after the new NPR & old Edward R. Murrow radio shows by the same name.
the ugliness of death and the unknown of where it leads, death is not
final. In the end, our cling to life weakens as calamity, agony,
wailing and gnashing of teeth force us to let go. Survivors
are left with the grim awareness that the body of someone once known
and loved now decays. What it is like to be dead appears horrific.
But what looks like a black hole from this side, may be a white hole
in disguise. Death, it seems, is a passageway for all that is good.
There is some degree of goodness in every person, every animal, plant,
and object even if we cannot recognize it in them. That virtuous,
loving essence remains intact when we die. God is literally love,
so the “image of God within” remains vital even upon our death.
All loving spirits are reunified.
belief in a loving afterlife is not false hope based on groundless expectation;
it is well grounded in my experience. As a paramedic, I spoke
with people I had helped to resuscitate and I read about others.
There are many people with out-of-body recollections of transcendence.
Since the stories are unverifiable, they could just be pigeon-holed
into the psychology term “dissociative depersonalization,” a sense
of detachment as if observing oneself from outside. But I cannot
dismiss the phenomenon as mere dreams or brain short-circuits because
I can relate out-of-body accounts to my own experience.
I have no personal near-death stories, twice I had what seem to have
been out-of-body episodes. Both situations were intense adventures.
One occurred while I anxiously gave an oral report in high school and
the other was during deep concentration on a new mathematical concept.
In the first situation, I found myself hovering just outside the classroom
window two stories up, watching my fidgety classmates’ profiles as
they waited for me to resume the report, my blank-faced form standing
speechless before them. The second time, when the key to understanding
the math equation took hold, I happened to be floating over the Dairy
Queen rooftop two towns away. If not for the recurrent memory
of that odd viewpoint whenever I do certain calculations, I probably
would have forgotten the second experience. Perhaps there were
other incidents that I did forget.
seems that our spirits can exist without their anatomical containers.
The body and soul can separate. Apparently, death is final only
to the corpse and not the spirit with its capacity to wander.
Out-of-body experiences give me assurance that once we die, we become
reunited with those we love. Whether true or not, it is only possible
to know when our time comes. But what I believe is that our human
flaws and frailties are the only things that disintegrate. The
good stuff gets recycled. Our loving natures transcend in a great
need somebody." Our three-year-old son David’s words barely
penetrated the chatter of our beach party. "I neeeed somebody,"
he cried again, much louder this time so that we all looked over in
alarm to see what had happened. Sobbing, David pointed at the
bonfire, where I saw his trousers lying, one pant leg already burned.
Earlier, David had gotten them wet playing tag with the surf, so we
had taken them off him and stuck a pole in the woodpile, one end of
which could hold the trousers over the fire to dry. Attempting
to climb the stack of firewood, David had jiggled his pants loose and
they had fallen into the flames. There was nothing that could
be done for them now. All I could do was put my arm around my
son and hug. He stopped crying and we watched in fascination as
the trousers disappeared in smoke.
about this later, I realized that much of life occurs the way it did
that night on the beach. Most often there is nothing we can do
about the thrills and tragedies, big or small, that accompany life.
But when they happen, a little compassion can make a huge difference.
This is my belief: We are here to love each other. When
that happens, it is the closest thing to heaven we can create on Earth.
My belief is a
crystallization of thoughts which have come, usually unbidden, through
the years. To submit them to paper on a fully conscious level
is a challenge.
The current Intelligent
Design ideology sounds in some ways like my own conclusion. Creationism
seems to be a simplistic way to explain the inexplicable produced by
a people to ease their feelings of helplessness. But it is not
totally without merit. Evolution through time, with occasional
sudden lurches forward seems to me to be an aspect of the same process.
Contemplating existence from either position must surely generate an
awed appreciation. What is astonishing to me is the stance of
militant people who demand exclusivity. Why the big ruckus?!
I choose to believe that there is an unknowable pattern to existence,
with randomness as part of the pattern.
I discovered in
my childhood the thought process of “causation.” Through the
years I have pondered this with pleasure. An endless chain of
events-linked-back-to-events is wonderful to consider, and hopefully
to realize the responsibility that entails. This all points to
an "Originating Intelligence."
I'm not sure
that I merit any individual consideration, which many find comforting,
and that's okay. I'm content to merge my chemistry back into
the permanence of matter. Wishfully, I'd choose to revisit those
persons who have preceded me into the great mystery of death.
And I do believe some spark of identity remains, although in what form
In this potpourri
of energetic matter, should an Avatar be produced, surely this being would have a form acceptable to those for whom the message is intended.
Humankind, with horrendous battles between factions, has produced varied, but similar explanations of the forces governing their world- and ultimately their Cosmos. How amazing that people cannot accept that in crediting
an entity with this marvelous existence, it is possible to address such entity without doing battle over what to call this Intelligence. If Heaven/ Valhalla/ Nirvana or some such repository exists, I cannot
visualize the extremists who destroy in the name of their belief, being
given easy entry to such a place. I see them as being pushed "to the back of the line," behind their multitude of victims.
Lastly, I am compelled
to believe that this sadly flawed human race will somehow develop into
a better, higher form.
The best gifts I've received
form the Universe, are my children.
Grace is bird songs and whispering
trees, a soft bed when I'm pooped, friends to play and cry with, my
furry babies, and Jesus' love, there all the time.
This I Believe: Owning The Seeds
by Rusty (Barbara) Gasparian
I nestle into the sands,
I snuggle into the crystal white grains of earth
and I am aware of existence.
Like the seagulls facing into the wind
the eyes and spirits of me are still,
I am joyful child,
I am nurturing mother,
I am restless adolescence -
a rebel without a cause.
A melancholy that traveled
in my heart and bones
these past days and has left me.
I am stronger, wiser, content and grateful
for having owned the seeds
of my childhood and I am free.
I believe in healing.
I become one with the sea.
I am mother being sung a lullaby
by the child of her womb.
I am child cradled and rocked
by father, by mother, by Earth and by Spirit.
I am generations before me
and I am all yet to be.
I am life.
I am love.
I am faith and truth.
I believe it is
good to open up channels of self-expression for others. In other words,
thanks for asking! I hold beliefs in awe and don't look at them
right on. I'm grateful for their presence and allow them to dissolve
when engulfed by greater or seemingly contrary truths. I dare not speak
of them, try to define, or pin them down in any way lest their mystic
presence be offended. Beliefs must be free. Beliefs crop up, appearing
along the path like friendly hugs, guides, and crutches. If I become
one with Whole-O awareness, beliefs do not feel my need, or respond
to any unuttered call, because consciousness knows.
This I believe - William Penrose Campbell,
I believe as I
age, and contrary to the popular shibboleth, I'm becoming more liberal.
In my sixth decade, I now see not only an opportunity but an obligation
to help the less fortunate.
I see a similar
mandate for the care of this planet. It's in a lot worse shape
now than it was when I arrived on it in 1939. And I see precious
few arguments from the libertarian or conservative side to rectify its
This I not only
believe, but act upon to the best of my moral and financial abilities.
I, human, am not the end of evolution. That other animals are equally
intelligent and feeling, we just have different priorities.
That when I take a moment to drop my hubris and conceit, I find that
the species who surround me have an awful lot to say.
That when I open my mind, I find that I am ignoring some of my closest
opportunities for friendship.
That I may touch hearts with a rat, a possum, or a chicken.
There are things
in this life that I have no control over. Investing my time and
energy in these areas gives me nothing in return. Well, that's
not exactly true, the return on investing in the things I have no control
over gives me worry, apprehension and confusion. I believe in
the God of the Bible, that there is a plan that is bigger than me and
I fit into that plan. My life touches yours and makes a difference
somehow. The luxury of knowing and understanding "Why?""
could consume me, but I choose to focus on those things that I do have
control over. I choose how I behave in all circumstances; I choose
how and with whom I spend my time. Our friendship is a choice
that we agree on. I'm so thankful for you.
it is I believe today,
No matter what
I say, it is my actions that will define me.
No matter how
much I try to control my destiny through my actions, it is the unexpected
that will form me.
No matter, the
movement does not require a name. When I become the movement, the movement
will use my name.