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What do you believe?

October 31, 2012

What do you believe to be true? A few years ago NPR ran a series asking listeners to submit 500 -word essays revealing their most passionate convictions—anything from “I believe in ghosts” to “I believe in democracy.” The response was overwhelming. I sent one in myself. It explored my daughter’s choice to join the track team in high school because it was a no-fail sport only my submission was really about coming to understand, watching high school runners who barely lumbered past the first check point, while others flew across the finish, that we are all attempting to at least place in the same event—a life with meaning—lived with kindness.
So now the holidays are upon us and I’m wondering what you believe about them. I’m pretty much convinced that everyone else has a flawless family and therefore everyone else is going to have a perfect family holiday. I believe everyone else has kids who grew up to want to live right down the street where they can come home for holiday dinners with their cheerful, robust children and bring extra light bulbs for the porch. I believe everyone else has relatives who contribute appetizers that weren’t baked for people with multiple food allergies and horribly restricted diets. And I pretty much believe other families have enough chairs that match and glasses that aren’t scratched up from the dishwasher that never actually gets them clean since the banning of phosphates. And a dog that doesn’t have a cloaking device that allows her to snatch and swallow all the cocktail napkins with the pretty cornucopias on them.
Write a page on something you deeply and passionately believe to be true: that your dog is a genius, you can read minds, good luck comes in threes, there is life on other planets, love conquers all, we actually live forever, Putin is just misunderstood—anything. Then read what you’ve written. That’s your voice. We write most authentically when we care deeply –we are most articulate when expressing our truth.


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