We all have some basic core beliefs. While there are some that span entire societies, i.e. to murder is bad, there are some that are more individualized. It is these that interest me. I believe that you can know a lot about a person’s character by examining what they believe. Or at least what they believe that they believe.
Having started off with such an introduction I can only continue by sharing some of my beliefs about the world and about people. If you agree, fine. If not, fine. But either way, examine what you believe. If you think of anything to my beliefs or tenets please say so. If you have one you believe that isn’t on my list please add it in the comments. I love seeing the perspective of others. It’s like being in an alien mind. It allows us to see from a perspective different from our own, foreign, but through its experience now recognizable.
Here we go with my beliefs:
• Folks is folks – people are not so different regardless where they come from. We all want to leave a better world behind for our children, we just may not agree on what that better world should be.
• Belief without action is a daydream – if we do not act on our beliefs then we may as well not have them. If we fail to act on an idea we are saying that while we may believe the idea we do not believe in it.
• Science and religion are opposite sides of the same coin- religion seeks to understand why G-d does things. Science seeks to understand how.
• We cannot truly understand someone and still hate them – to understand someone is to know their goals, motivations, misgivings, and hopes. When we understand all these things we cannot help but to love them. The ultimate irony here is that this knowledge frequently not only allows or facilitates our destruction of our enemies, it sometimes requires it.
• Choice of cause is paramount in righteousness, but perspective determines good and bad – that is to say there are heroes on both sides of every conflict, good honorable men and women who take a stand for their beliefs. The cruelty of life is that each sees the other as acting for an unconscionable goal.
• Whatever it takes is usually a price paid by others – we say that to achieve important goals we must do whatever it takes, but the greatest burden for that is most often shouldered by others. Sacrifice is noble, but most people prefer to let others do it for them.
• Almost all people try to be good, but frequently fail to see how their many little actions overshadow their grand efforts – as an example we often fail to see the person waiting our table or ringing up our order. We ignore them, issue commands as we would to a pet, or talk to them as though they were fools. And that evening we turn on the news and our heart breaks at the lack of compassion in people.
Maybe I’m jaded. Perhaps I’m dealing with the death of my youthful optimism. It could be that I’m just cynical. But, in the end it doesn’t matter. Because I have one further belief that stands above all the others:
To be good does not require great deeds. Simple goodness can go a long way. One small act from one person can erase the pain in someone’s heart caused by a great many transgressions.
A couple weeks ago a lady brought a thank you card into the store where I work. It wasn’t addressed to me personally, but to everyone in my department. She told me that at her church they had made cards for the people in their lives they often take for granted and never really see.
Such a simple action, but so profound. I didn’t hear the simple words “Thank you” but instead heard “I care.”
“I care.” So simple is the idea, but so often it is lost. That woman reminded me of something. She didn’t remind me that people have good in them. She didn’t remind me that kindness can have unforeseeable and far reaching repercussions. She didn’t remind me that a small gesture can heal the heart. No, she reminded me of something more important. She reminded me why I spent ten years of my life risking my life for others for low pay and big heartache. Because people are worth it.
Her name is omitted here, not because I don’t know it, but because her purpose wasn’t to be recognized, but to recognize others. To her I give a heartfelt thank you. The tears I cried that night thinking about her small action were healing tears. They were long held pain escaping to make room for joy.
I ask one further thing of you, dear reader, go forth, be that healing joy in someone’s life.