Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On Choosing What I Believe

Beliefs are, by nature, absolute and, as such, very few are manifest in my life. There are more fingers on my hands than things I believe. I suppose I fear binding myself to restrictive codes that neither accommodate for the needs of others nor recognize the value in diversity. Yet, I cannot sail through this sea of people, and leave it better in my wake, without these bearings, by which I navigate.

In the midst of anger and hurt, I can choose to hold tightly to the anchor of blame placed with those I find at fault, though I believe that if I am unwilling to extend forgiveness to others, I cannot be forgiven for all the hurt I have caused. And so, I choose to forgive.

In the depths of misery, I can drown in despair though I believe that to deny hope is to disallow the dream of improved circumstances for myself and others. And so, I choose to hope.

Confronted by another’s seemingly unfathomable choice, I can ridicule their morals and customs, though I believe that we all face choices with less than palatable options. And so, I choose to empathize.

Awash in prejudice, I can foster the acceptance of ignorance, though I believe that knowledge can ease the fears born of the unknown, and will yield tolerance. And so, I choose to learn.

Faced with hate, I can forever abandon the author of each callous deed, though I believe that I can love someone in spite of their flaws, and without agreeing with their actions; for this is how I am accepted. And so, I choose to love.

Spouting religion, I can condemn others for not adhering to the tenets of men as fallible as I, though I believe that it is better to have a relationship with God than to be religious. And so, I choose relationship.

My inner compass, momentarily jarred by waves of conflict or distress, will, more often than not, right itself before those around me suffer too much damage. Given time, I rally against the cross-winds of emotion to choose a response that runs contrary to my own selfish, human reactions. Love, forgiveness, hope, empathy, knowledge, relationship, and tolerance serve as the stars by which I chart my course. Should I run aground in the shallows of selfishness, I will endeavor to take a new tack. And choose what I believe.

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