This I (want to) Believe

My son’s Language class has been working on essays to submit to This I Believe, “an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives”. This I Believe began as a radio series in the 1950s hosted by Edward R. Murrow and has since grown into a cultural phenomenon of sorts. Their website has over 90,000 essays written by people from every corner of the universe, including one by Helen Keller that will seize the breath in your chest and squeeze your heart in its fist.

While my son’s class was working on their less soul-wrenching essays, I was piqued by the proclamation, This I Believe…, and I wanted to answer it. I wanted to nail it down. There are lots of things that we all say we believe, but to put one fine point to it and eliminate all others means to drill down through layers of fluff to get to the still small voice that moves and motivates every action of our lives. This I Believe. The truth is, what we truly believe can be ugly. It can be a lie that speaks through and misdirects our lives. For those reasons I found that I can write an essay that says, This I Believe, and still not believe it in a way that effectively impacts my life. In truth, the essay ought to be written from the outsider’s perspective mirroring what they see our lives say we believe. So, from this understanding I endeavored to write the essay below, which I think is a more honest expression of what I would like for you to know that I believe because of the way I live. Here goes…

This I (want to) Believe

I believe that I could not love my son any more, nor any less, than I do at this very moment. My love for him is an unwavering constant. Oh, there have been moments when I have not liked him much, but like is a fickle feeling of emotional response. There have been moments when he has crushed me with disappointment, but it has not diminished my love for him. It is the hopeful anticipation of something better than what he delivered that tells me that love is ever there. There have been moments when he has hurt me deeply, but what wound inflicted by one we adore does not bleed profusely? There have certainly been moments of joy and gratification because of a turn of events wrought by his hand but these, neither, have affected my love by inflation. Nor have the moments of tender affection. Though my heart-fire is fanned by his warmth, it is none-the-less, an eternal flame.

I have long expressed my love to my son by describing it as being “as big as the blue sky”. It is an eternal expanse, immeasurable by human calculation. Of course, he thinks it’s just big. But it is more than big. It is uncontainable, it is without boundary, its ways can not be counted. A thing without number can not be reduced, nor can it increase. East and West can not be separated where they meet. I believe that my love for my son is like this.

Because I believe this, I therefore must believe that God loves me likewise. Even I, a mortal, fallible, unloving, unlovable finite being can love in a way that is unshakable, unconditional. How much more so the Heavenly Father? It is inconceivable that His love could be more constant than mine. And yet. And yet I must concede that the author of my love, having written the recipe, knows the ingredients best. His love is an unchangeable, everlasting, never-ending love as big as the blue sky which His hand stretched across the heavens. It is a fixed constant. Oh yes! I have disappointed Him. I will continue to do so until He claims me for eternity. Yes, I have hurt Him beyond measure and at the expense of His son, but His love did not diminish for having paid the price. I have the occasional moment of endearment which pleases Him, but He does not love more so in these moments than in the moments when I am in completely un-tethered oblivion. He loves in this way. It is unalterable. It is unvarying. It is sure. I am often forgetful of this truth, but this I believe.