What Do You Believe? — April 23, 2009
Apr 23, 2009 by J.S. Buford
Life can be cold and at times mercilessly unforgiving.
And many of us who have been blessed with financial solvency, friendship, loving parents, and a multitude of opportunities to better our lives all to often take for granted or simply forget just how tenuous life really is. If nothing else the nation’s downward economic spiral illustrated just how swiftly those on top, can find themselves scrambling for something to eat tomorrow.
Matter of fact, I would submit that it is only during these periods that we learn just how deep our convictions run, and how committed we are to the principles of justice, honesty, and fellowship.
More and more, we are being inundated with news reports concerning or perhaps have found ourselves serving as audience to tales of despair, woe, and desperation. Many of us are dealing with distress and a growing sense of hopelessness ourselves. Feeling as if our backs are against the wall, struggling to secure gainful employment as mounds of bills accumulate on top of our kitchen tables or crammed in bedroom drawers.
The incessant hounding of bill collectors, feeling as if there is no escape, many of us simply surrender to feelings of despair. And as the rain begins to flood at our front doors, dealing with one thing after another, our sense of confidence and self worth begins to whither. At some point or another, we’ve all been there. And if you haven’t, you’d be wise to kneel on bended knee and thank the Creator for you have been exceedingly blessed.
Truly, some of us are better equipped than others to absorb, deflect, and tolerate the cold, and therefore it serves no purpose to compare or assess the gravity of one person’s hardship versus another’s. Personally, I’ve always found those who do so to be exceedingly hypocritical, given that very few us will ever know if we can be broken, and thankfully very few us ever will.
So, for those of us who may be feeling like the walls are closing in, like the pain and frustration will never end, like you simply cannot take anymore, I pose one question.
What do you believe?
I submit that too many of us allow the heat of a moment or a period of deep despondency to color our lives, and even worse, our future. After all, we are and we become what we think about ourselves. The extent of what we achieve is ultimately determined by the extent we believe we can achieve. Absent a strong network of family or friends, mentors or just, good people, it’s easy to allow brief periods of hardship and or insolvency to cloud our vision. It’s a slippery slope, because once you let in self-doubt, pity, and undue cynicism, they will conspire to run a muck.
Soon all one begins to think about is what’s not possible, why things may be too difficult; supposed limitations become ubiquitous, and what we don’t have becomes the focus. And to make matters worse, often those with an agenda predicated upon manipulation and control appear larger, even omnipotent. Those closest to you will prey upon your fears and insecurities. They will whoop it up at your expense, silently grin to themselves, and if allowed to, attempt to diminish you at every opportunity. Yes, the world can be cold.
But what do you believe?
Sometimes, all that is required is that we be quiet. If you are a God fearing person, pray about it. Then take a moment to listen to the rain, the breath exiting and entering your lungs. Just be still for a moment, and ask yourself what do you want out of life. Not what kind of job you want. Not what it takes to get there. Not how you are going to transcend the struggle that is threatening your sense of hope and dignity. If you ask yourself two simple questions, what do you believe you deserve and truly what do you want life to be like? The answer will come to you, but only if you do away with what’s cluttering your mind and spirit, and align your ideas, thoughts, words, and actions with what you ultimately desire, as opposed to vice versa.
For the reality of the matter is every day, hour, minute, and second the Creator chooses to avail us of, represents an opportunity to change, evolve, and progress. Instead of asking yourself, who am I to be happy, successful, powerful, and fulfilled, you must begin to ask yourself who am I not to be? Instead of focusing on what is lacking, focus on what you do have. Instead of focusing on why you can’t, focus on why you can. Rather than focusing on what is constraining you, be flexible of mind enough to accept the fact that you don’t know everything, and there may be a plethora of opportunities you are simply not aware of.
Know that there are no perfect people.
A sense of happiness and fulfillment is really a function of the extent to which we can or allow ourselves to believe. It is the ultimate expression of our inner divinity. So many of us fail to realize that we truly have nothing to lose. Some hold tight to the trappings of wealth or for most of us perceived wealth — cars, jewelry, clothing, etc. — not realizing such things can be snatched away at a moment’s notice. And how do you find the strength to move on, forge ahead, and thrive again…if you don’t believe?
Yes indeed, life is contact sport, so it does not serve you to duck, inebriate yourself, or attempt to evade it. Admittedly, a glass a wine doesn’t hurt every now and again though (my own personal bias). Still, whether you are a believer or atheist, those of us who transcend the worse of circumstances more often than not share a commonality: a belief that our lives cannot be capsulated nor the extent to which we can achieve restricted to a moment in time.
In other words don’t believe for a moment that a young Barack Obama was not sitting on a toe down sofa (that’s right “ toe down “) somewhere years and years ago reflecting upon being the President of the United States of America. Others may have laughed or scoffed at the idea. Sized him up, told him to pump the brakes. Others may have attempted to manipulate him with monetary rewards or otherwise, and if rejected even try to humiliate him. By the way isn’t it cool to see President Barack Hussein Obama just stunting all over these Republicans?
There are those who will call you arrogant. They will question you in words and their actions? Who are you to believe you can achieve? In a fit of jealousy and or fear they may attempt to sully your name, and some will even be bold enough to lie to your face about it. They will attempt to put you in your place. Ha! Convince you, that you lack the capacity, the pedigree, the right connections, the intellect, the track record, and or the virtues required to transcend the circumstances that color your life. And all you need to do is continue to believe. Stare them dead in their face, grin, and keep it moving.
A teacher whom I have a profound respect for once told me: small minds talk about people; good minds problems, and great minds philosophize. Haters have small minds. It takes less than a minute to identify them.
To be human is to hunger for freedom. And if you have it inside of you inculcate and feed it whenever possible. Disavow yourself of the chains of I can’t. Ask yourself, not what job I want, but rather what job or business opportunity meets the criteria, passes muster…to your desires, wants, and beliefs equate. Indeed, nothing in life is promised, not even the future standing there, waiting to kiss your face. However, you do have a choice as to whether you pursue it with tenacity and grace. Satiated in the knowledge that if you come up short, the journey was if nothing else rewarding.
Life can at times be like good sex, eh? Ever in the middle of it, get a cramp in your leg or foot? Did you stop? Or did you continue on in the knowledge that the pain would simply dissipate?
I understand that some might say that this message is not realistic, or that it’s too idealistic. My response is given the dire straits many of us find ourselves in today, perhaps a return to idealism is exactly what’s needed.
What do you believe?
Originally published at https://www.catchjsbuford.com.