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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mrs. Frederick M. Thayer is a professional sculptress who gives much time to settlement work. She has five children, now grown, each a well-reared, balanced, real person. She runs a home in the country—an old-fashioned, drop-in-friendly house—where decency and sense and fun are properly mixed. Here are Eliza Thayer’s beliefs.
First of all, I believe in God. Every day that I have lived, everything I have learned, every experience that I have had has ultimately deepened and strengthened that fundamental belief. The great,
mysterious universe, the majestic rhythms and harmonies, the intricate point and counterpoint partially scored for us by astronomers and physicists; all these insist upon the reality of a creator. Even more so does the existence of beauty, and of courage, and of love in the human heart. However, my faith is founded on something simpler and more direct. Occasionally, at unremarkable moments in daily life—once or twice in the presence of death or of birth—I’ve had such an overwhelming sense of God that, I cannot doubt.
My life so far has been an exceptionally privileged one. I have never had any shattering personal disaster, I have never known poverty, nor have I ever actually known anyone whom I considered an evil
person. Like most women whose chief job is being wife, mother, and housekeeper, I’ve been lucky enough to nearly always be working with and for people I love. If the hours of my days were spent with those with whom I had no bond of affection, perhaps the power and importance of love would not loom so very large in my thinking. As it is, I can no more doubt that the love in the world comes from God than the light that fills this room comes from the sun.
I believe that there is a life after death. What form it takes—or how or why—doesn’t concern me very much. The reason, I believe, is simply that even the idea of a city paved with gold is not as fantastic to me as the sudden and complete extinguishing of an individual because the heart ceases to beat. I
cannot believe that the understanding and the wisdom that have grown through a lifetime, the love, the knowledge—in other words, the soul—is dependent for its existence on the material body.
The most troubling thing to me about my faith is my lack of understanding about prayer. I have never been able to feel that asking God for anything particular, even for increased understanding, is possible. I cannot pray for protection or for any special mercy of God, for any particular one of his children. It doesn’t seem right to me. This inability to pray in the accepted sense of the word has been painful when those close to me have been in trouble or in danger. The nearest I can come to prayer is to try to open the heart to love and praise, and a consciousness of God’s plan.
I believe that there is no such thing as independence, only a glorious interdependence; that we are united with every human being in the world. We must not only love others, we are others; we not only must share, but we do share what we think, what we do, what we are, with everyone whose lives we touch. The obligation to give of self to the limit of ability seems very clear to me; and that the greater the opportunity, the greater the obligation. I believe that only as we increase in understanding and love of our fellow man can we come close to God.
Those were the beliefs of Eliza Thayer of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, housewife, mother, sculptress and authoress and a very successful woman in all these fields of living.