I’m a Believer — So Are You

We disagree with one another a lot these days, but I think I’ve found three sentences we can all say, “Yes, that’s true,” to:

Adults protecting and loving children -- this is a truth on which we can all agree, isn't it? Seaside Story by Steve Henderson

Adults protecting and loving children — this is a truth on which we can all agree, isn’t it? Seaside Story by Steve Henderson

1) We are all born.

2) We all die.

3) In between, we operate each of our lives based upon individual belief systems, which in themselves are loosely or tightly based upon larger, more organized group systems.

Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Agnostic, Atheist — there are a lot of options for believing, and subdivisions within each system. Twenty people in a room, discussing their way of looking at things, leads to a hum of activity; there are nearly 7 billion of us.

We will never agree. That’s not the point.

The point is this: we all believe in something, because no human mind is a vacuum. (I know; I’ve met some pretty apparently empty-cranium types myself; generally I’m driving behind them; but seriously, even these people think.)

Since we are going to believe in something, it’s crucial that we take time to figure out what it is, what factors are influencing this belief, and follow up on it.

If there’s a Holy Book involved, do we ever really read it? — for ourselves, not in a small group, not with a workbook at our side, not prompted to specific conclusions by someone in a suit, with a theological degree. Some books, like the Bible, bear the blood of martyrs on them, who died so that we could have this precious resource in our own language and in our own homes. We can honor these people by using our ability to independently read and analyze, and in the process figure out what it was that people in authority were so afraid that we find out.

If we don’t believe in a Holy Book, great — what do we believe in, and why?

Freedom and joy are ours when we figure out who and what we are -- a reachable goal that is accessible to all of us. Brimming Over by Steve Henderson.

Freedom and joy are ours when we figure out who and what we are — a reachable goal that is accessible to all of us. Brimming Over by Steve Henderson.

Whatever we believe, we can ask ourselves, who or what influences us? Whose voice do we inadvertently follow?

If we don’t ask ourselves these questions, we find ourselves subconsciously running our lives in accordance with the belief systems of Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Oprah, Ben Affleck, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, they go on and on — not bad people but noisy ones, who because they can do one or more things well (interestingly, act and talk), are accorded space in the public arena for their opinions on everything.

Worse, we absorb the opinions of nameless people through newspaper articles, magazine spreads, 20-second video clips on the evening news with the announcer interpreting what we see, statistics from purportedly independent studies, proclamations from federal and state agencies — all to influence, or overtly direct,  what we eat, what medications we introduce into our body, whether or not we get a flu shot, how we view gay marriage, if we are confident enough to sit down every day, with a book, and teach our own young child to read.

(One of my favorite television commercials of the last century involved a man in a white coat announcing, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Nowadays, this isn’t seeming so absurd anymore.)

Some things — it is strongly implied — are too big and too complex for ordinary mortals to think about: our escalating debt, health care, terrorism, unemployment — and the experts — the economists, the medical establishment, the scientists, the political arena, not to mention A-List celebrities — will do the serious thinking, speaking, and doing for us.

If we make no other resolution for 2013, let it be this: Find out what we believe — and why — and act upon it.

Thinking. It is never time wasted. Gathering Thoughts by Steve Henderson

Thinking. It is never time wasted. Gathering Thoughts by Steve Henderson

This will involve asking a lot of questions, namely of ourselves, but that’s okay, because when we ask a question inside our mind, there’s nobody but ourselves to make fun of our asking it. And the more we allow ourselves to ask questions, the better we get at it, and someday, we voice aloud the questions we have pondered in our head:

“But the Emperor’s not wearing any clothes, is he?”

In 2013, figure out what you believe, and why.

 Speaking of 2013, this is my last Middle Aged Plague post until then. I am taking a two-week break to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s with my family. I wish you a Merry, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and I hope that you are able to spend meaningful time — even if it’s on Facebook — with the people who mean the most to you.

Advertisements

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, Christian, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Economy, Education, Encouragement, Family, Growth, health, home, homeschooling, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, media, New Year's, News, Personal, Politics, Random, Relationships, religion, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I’m a Believer — So Are You

  1. You hit the nail on the head, Carolyn. Asking… that’s built-in to everyone, democratically!
    There are answers!

    • Susan: Isn’t that an incredible thought? There are answers!

      We live in a society that embraces the Matrix movie philosophy of mysterious, eerie questions, but no answers.

      I guess it makes a difference Whom you ask . . .

  2. Reblogged this on Wise Counsel and commented:
    Middleagedplague just has a whole lot to say about believing.
    I gave good thought to the perspectives that are shared here, and I think you should do too.
    Maybe everyone really is a believer, only that we probably believe in different things.
    I love to think for myself.
    I encourage you to think for yourself.
    What do you think?

  3. stewartry says:

    Merry Christmas, Carolyn, and may 2013 be better than 2012! Thank you so much for these wonderful weekly doses of wit and wisdom!

    • Thank you. I echo your prayer about 2013 being better than 2012!

      Thank you for reading me and commenting so graciously on what I write. I truly, truly want to make a difference. Don’t we all?

      May you be surrounded and embraced by the people you love.

  4. Seasweetie says:

    Merry Christmas, Carolyn. Enjoy your family during this special season. Love is the greatest gift.

  5. Pingback: Happy New Year « Focus on the Artist

  6. cabinart says:

    List Lady here.
    1. Laughed aloud at the driving behind empty-head sentence. 😎
    2. Loved your thoughts on reading our Holy Book for ourselves.
    3. I’m just dying to know why the beautiful lady is stuffing scarves in a basket while waves threaten her from behind (NEVER turn your back on the ocean! Unless you are posing, and the artist/photographer can warn you. . .) What a stunning painting, but it makes me ask lots of questions.
    4. Thank you for the permission to ask questions. Been annoying people all my life by doing so.
    5. Enjoy your quiet time away from the World Wide Web – Merry Christmas!
    6. The lighting on Gathering Thoughts is . . . words fail me. Thank you for sharing this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s