This I Believe (2009).

Stephen Tremp
     Pieces of this have come out in many posts since Stephen Tremp convinced me to join the A-to-Z Challenge last year.  95% of what I write is sitting on hard drives, floppy discs, or old type written paper which requires enough resources to hire somebody to convert.  Probably in the next 18 months that happens.
And yes, I know that using THIS as my T word in the challenge is weak but the 6 jobs working schedule with the Phd puts Blogs in the background of priorities. Forgive me for the length in sentence structure and in total.

Kay Redfield Jamison
     Having listened for years to National Public Radio in the car and online I am familiar with the This I Believe Series and although reading the individual philosophies contained therein is interesting it does not at all compare to what one experiences when hearing the original writer speak their own words.   Written language is valuable, but there is a much intimate feeling of togetherness from hearing the passion, joy or pain that is    My book contains dozens of turned down first pages but choosing only two of those was not as difficult as I’d imagined:  Kay Redfield Jamison’s The Benefits of Restlessnessand Jagged Edges and The Connection Between Strangers from Miles Goodwin.
contained within the human voice beyond the words themselves.

      Fifteen years ago  I was a board member ( for 12 years) and at a retreat for United Way of Southwest Michigan and one of the exercises we undertook was in a few words explaining why we were there.  Though far less developed in my philosophies than today, I uniquely expressed that I was there “to make a positive difference in the lives of those I came in contact with in ways that extended beyond the immediate moment.”  No one else gave that reason.   Some were there as part of corporate expectations of community service, so not really of their own will, while most others were more specific, such as trying to improve literacy in an illiterate region in a mostly illiterate country.

Miles Goodwin (not Myles Goodwin)
     Like Miles Goodwin (and I assume most of humanity) there exists within me the conflict of choices I have    In his case the experience of the Vietnam War and the resulting condemnation by an American society rejecting of older authoritarian ideas of the world and how we are to lead in the world caused him to be withdrawn.   The immediately simple gesture of a ten year old providing a magazine to a service member in uniform when many adults at that time would have looked on him with disdain is great reminder to us all established in the words of Pericles: What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  
made, actions taken that are hypocritical of that core belief that one can make a positive difference.

     The scriptures reflect this in Christ’s teaching of coming to him or to God with the mind of a child.    Why is it that on a flight full of people it was a child who saw a human being, while others only bore the label of soldier, which may have implied “child killer”, etc?   The faith of a children, to behold the wonders of the universe and ask why, and to (unless trained by parents otherwise in our necessarily protective society) share or give some measure of peace and joy to others without seeking recompense, is more beautiful than the finest works of art.
I’ve never really watched the movie Pay it Forward all the way through, but I do believe that there is a universal truth within its precepts.    We just don’t know sometimes when the simplest thing, a smile, a gentle touch, the opening of a door, or listening to someone speak fully in the moment without judgment or condemnation, won’t change their day and maybe even their lives for the better forever.  Is it better to give than to receive?   Absolutely.   And that concept runs counter to our American culture where giving demands reciprocation and often the pre-thought of what will be returned before generosity is extended.  For Miles Goodwin it was a life changing experience that even 30 years later he remembers vividly and as he states, she probably doesn’t even remember at all.  As the Al Jarreau sang “There’s only one thing I know that’s a gift to the giver . . . and that’s a random act of love.” (I only found three version of the song on YouTube and they were all visually offensive and two audio offensive in my ears, so listen and don't watch if you go to the link.)
     I know I have lots of restless and jagged edges that are less so now than they were even earlier this year   Kay Jamison’s thoughts spoke to me mainly because I too am bipolar with some OCD and ADD   Many times I have looked upon others with envy in their seeming ability to never loose control or ride the manic roller coaster that comes with a combination of a manic depressive, hyperactivity, and attention deficit personality.   Yet I have also come to understand that such thinking is a disservice to who I am, as well as to them.   A number of years ago in a men’s bible study one of the men 20 years older whom I greatly respected as a business and church leader expressed wonder at some of the things I had walked through in life for he “had never strayed from the faith and obedience” to what he’d been taught.   

     Just recently in a discussion with him over lengths of marriages he revealed that he and his wife had been separated for four years before restoring their relationship.   So the perception I had previously had of him was over elevated, and we both could accept that we are who we are, and none of us has reached the level of perfection that humanity is capable of (A discussion of Christ is a separate matter in this regard).
let alone in the previous forty-six (now 50) years.
      My disease/gift also provides me with opportunities to think in ways that conformity does not allow and causes bright bursts of creative energy and insight that I relish.  As Kay so correctly says “One should learn from turmoil and pain, share one’s joy with those less joyful, and encourage passion when it seems likely to promote the common good.  Knowledge is marvelous, but wisdom is even better.”  We can read, discuss, and learn all that we choose to in the varied paths and limited time we’ve been given on this earth.   To hold all of that within and not find ways to communicate with others and reach individual moments of shared truth and happiness would be a great loss for each of us individually as well as for society.   As the cliché goes “Have you hugged your kid today?”, or anyone else for that matter . . . without expecting something in return? 

     Learning to apply wisdom to the momentary opportunities that come each day and are gone like hummingbirds at flight is a key to becoming what we were designed and desire to be.  This I believe (among other things).

Popular posts from this blog

Transformational Servant Leadership Innovation

Losing Common Knowledge

What's Missing in Strategic Planning ~ Pt 1