Three things I believe
Published 2:36 pm Friday, February 11, 2011
One of my favorite recurring segments on NPR radio is “This I Believe.”
The segment began in the 1950s and has been revived in the last several years. Recently, it got me thinking about what I use as guideposts along the way.
Three things seem very clear to me: Life goes on, Jesus is coming and Betty White.
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Hundreds of young Annies have bellowed, “The sun’ll come up tomorrow”—and it will.
Whatever happens today, tomorrow will soon appear. Life goes on.
The doctor said words that I did not want to hear, and tomorrow came. We buried my mother last summer, and tomorrow came. Through the years, I have watched this happen—after an event that broke my heart, life continued.
I have learned that life is a good thing even when it is hard or unfair or painful. There is another day, another chance, another beginning to cause me to grow.
I am reminded that I am not the center of the universe—God is.
God is not the God of my past—God does not exist back there when times were good. God is the God of my tomorrow and God calls me to move toward God’s self, not to stay frozen in what was, or even harder to bear, what might have been.
Life goes on, but this is not all there is.
Jesus is coming. The world as we know it now will be changed and we will be in the very presence of God—not separated by time or space, not limited by our frail bodies.
Do I know when or how this will happen?
Does that matter to me?
God is in charge. I am not, and Jesus has the itinerary well in hand. I know that there are problems in the world, but there are also people working on solutions. War around the world spills from my television set every hour, and crime reports are so numerous and vivid that it seems their main purpose is to make me even more fearful and despairing. But I believe that Jesus is the way and the life, and that Jesus in God’s glory will return any day, any hour, any minute now. Or Jesus may return another thousand years from now.
The strange thing is that my sense of responsibility for the here and now is increased by this belief. If Jesus is coming, I need to make ready. I don’t want Jesus to find poverty, hunger and illness where I could have brought nurture and healing; anger and hurt where I could have brought peace and comfort; ignorance and hate where I could have brought education and understanding. I must live what I believe Jesus taught until Jesus does come even if it is a thousand years from now.
And then there is Betty White. After almost 60 years on television, Ms. White is still a beautiful, intelligent woman. Her passion for the humane treatment of animals, her ability to laugh at herself and her sense that she is both lucky and blessed—that is what I want to be when I grow up!
To be 80-plus years old and still focused on the future is a joy to see. If you read her biography, life has not always been easy for her. It seldom is for any of us. The choice is whether we focus on what is lost or on what is still possible. Ms. White shows us what fun it can be to stay open and active and engaged as long as possible. And that is what I want for myself.
These are not deeply philosophical beliefs, I know, and probably could be more eloquently stated by someone smarter than I. But these are sufficient for me.