Discovery in a Thunderstorm

Glueck, Nelson
1952-05-02

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Nelson Glueck, president of Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, recounts an experience in which he tried but failed to out-pedal a rain storm while cycling through the countryside, and describes how this experience helped form his belief that he should never try to run from difficult life circumstances.

Subjects
Metaphor
Cycling
Rain and rainfall
Fortitude
Happiness
United States
New York (N.Y.)
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/76058
ID: tufts:MS025.006.014.00002.00003
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Dr. Nelson Glueck is President of the Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Institute of Religion. In addition, he is a distinguished archaeologist. His accomplishments include the verification of a number of Biblical accounts with scientific evidence, and the unearthing of 70 ancient villages in the Jordan Valley. Now he turns from the past to the present and the future as he states his beliefs.
Many years ago I was on a bicycle trip through some exceedingly picturesque countryside. Suddenly, dark clouds piled up overhead and rain began to fall, but strange to relate, several hundred yards ahead of me the sun
shone brilliantly. Pedaling, however, as rapidly as I could, I found it impossible to get into the clear. The clouds with their rain kept advancing faster than I could race forward. I continued this unequal contest for an exhausting half hour, before realizing that I could not win my way to the bright area ahead of me.
Then it dawned upon me that I was wasting my strength in unimportant hurry, while paying no attention whatsoever to the landscape for the sake of which I was making the trip. The storm could not last forever and the discomfort was not unendurable. Indeed, there was much to look at which might otherwise have escaped me. As I gazed about with sharpened appreciation, I saw colors and lines and contours that would have appeared differently under
brilliant light. The rain mists which now crowned the wooded hills and the fresh clearness of the different greens were entrancing. My annoyance at the rain was gone and my eagerness to escape it vanished. It had provided me with a new view and helped me understand that the sources of beauty and satisfaction may be found close at hand within the range of one’s own sensibilities.
It made me think, then and later, about other matters to which this incident was related. It helped me realize that there is no sense in my attempting ever to flee from circumstances and conditions which cannot be avoided but which I might bravely meet and frequently mend and often turn to good account. I know that half the battle is won
if I can face trouble with courage, disappointment with spirit, and triumph with humility. It has become ever clearer to me that danger is far from disaster, that defeat may be the forerunner of final victory, and that, in the last analysis, all achievement is perilously fragile unless based on enduring principles of moral conduct.
I have learned that trying to find a carefree world somewhere far off involves me in an endless chase in the course of which the opportunity for happiness and the happiness of attainment are all too often lost in the chase itself. It has become apparent to me that I cannot wipe out the pains of existence by denying them, blaming them largely or completely on others, or running away from them.
The elements of weakness which mark every person cannot absolve me from the burdens and blessings of responsibility for myself and to others. I can magnify but never lessen my problems by ignoring, evading or exorcising them. I believe that my perplexities and difficulties can be considerably resolved, if not completely overcome, by my own attitudes and actions. I am convinced that there can be no guarantee of my happiness except that I help evoke and enhance it by the work of my hands and the dictates of my heart and the direction of my striving.
That was the creed of Dr. Nelson Glueck, educator of Cincinnati, Ohio. He bases a balanced way of life upon principles even more timeless than the Biblical relics he has uncovered.