You’re waiting for the elevator, and when the door opens the stranger standing inside asks you to tell him what that one thing is that you believe—before the door closes. (You won’t be getting on the elevator.)
What would you tell him?
I needed something to read before falling asleep the other night so I reached for a book my late friend, Linda, gave to me the Christmas before she died. THIS I BELIEVE, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (in association with the NPR project by the same name).
“I had to contemplate for a long time on this,” she wrote to me in the card, “for I believe many things. How does one declare publicly, leaving a footprint, what one believes in 300-500 words? Even for a flash writer like me, it was a difficult task.”
As I started into the short writings from notables such as actress Helen Hayes, politician Newt Gingrich and scientist Albert Einstein, my mind swirled at the very complexity of that question, and it bothered me a bit that my own thoughts wrapped around more of what I don’t believe so much anymore.
When we start to gather a few more miles along the pipeline, we—hopefully—get a little smarter, maybe a little stronger, and with a bit of luck– a little more honest. Hopefully.
Some of my thoughts after spending time with this book:
- I believe politics is just another human game, and the general welfare of the masses is not the central goal.
- I believe Eastern medicine aims to heal; I believe Western medicine aims for something else.
- I believe ministers, priests, rabbis, imams and scientists don’t know the half of It, and the sooner we realize this, the better off we will be.
- I believe writers don’t have to apologize for what we write, but we have to own it. Forever. All of it. Tweets/blogs/Facebook/essays/novels.
- I believe nothing is ever going to be what I thought it would be.
- I believe I will never understand another’s spot on this planet, until I stand in it.
- I believe having expectations is the ultimate destroyer of anything.
- I believe things with four legs and fur, something newborn, or an honest coating of rich black soil on my hands brings me face to face with God.
- I believe the animal kingdom will always be smarter than the human one.
Ultimately, however, my 3-second elevator pitch to the stranger would be this:
Kindness extended to all forms must reign sovereign.
How about it?
What would you tell this stranger?