This I Believe
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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. Lyn Mellard is at present a graduate student at the University of Arizona. A teacher and the wife of rancher Rudolph Mellard, she spent twelve years on a Texas cattle ranch, until it was hit by the drought last year. She and her husband plan to return soon and restock the ranch, and she plans to resume teaching after her present studies are over. Here now is Lyn Mellard.
This I believe: that nothing is static, not even God. All is dynamic, all change, all circulating motion. That which is still, unchangeably still, is dead. When I was a child, I thought as a child, but in the process of attaining adulthood, my thoughts have changed many times. My thoughts are still changing. If ever I permit them to become static, I shall surely die, even though for a while I may continue to breathe.
I believe with Henry David Thoreau that our thoughts are the epochs in our lives. Epochs suggest movement, continuing through time, and epochs of thought suggest a condition always dynamic.
I believe that the great reservoir of soul-force is fed by its tributaries here in the material world, as they in turn are supplied. I believe that life here is not a great experiment, as Thomas Mann suggests, but a great necessity inextricably bound into the all in all.
I believe that the force I call God may be likened to a master banker, with mankind the depositors. I, one among many, have my initial sum, my talents on deposit from which I may draw with additional loans and often great overdrafts. But the debt must be squared, the account balanced.
To my finite mind, the master banker is infinite, but long overdrawn accounts in multiple millions throughout all the universe would affect the great dividend. Therefore, I am not an experiment in the great scheme but a surety.
This I believe: that paradoxically I make my greatest return in what to me are my failures—failures that I do not permit to remain failures. In the strivings, the over comings, I distill and regenerate my soul-power and make my payments. Who made the greater spiritual deposit, the Prodigal Son or his brother? And why the parable of the buried talent? This then I believe: that my failures are never failures until I quit. Believing as I do that the finite is as necessary in the scheme of things as the infinite,
I see a reason for overcoming that is neither private nor selfish. I have arrived at this epoch in my thoughts by an unceasing search for the great unchangeable, which found is more variable than I. Change alone is static. Therefore, the greatest challenge of life is to continue a part of and to make contribution to the dynamic pattern.
I believe that there is no greater earthly help for keeping in the pattern than friendship, which is both a receiving and a giving. Friends in my life stand as powerful beacons of light, guiding and illuminating my thoughts and, hence, the choices I must hourly make. I believe that time and distance are relative and that I have wonderful friends far from me and in different ages.
Emerson is such a friend, and so is Thoreau and John Donne and George Santayana and Sholom Ash and Jesus of Nazareth, to name a few, and many contemporaries.
I believe that there is nothing that I can hold finally and irrevocably and unchangeably in my hands, and that it is my wanting to that has caused most of my unhappiness. The only storehouse is the soul. I accept at face value the necessity and importance of the statement: “I must be about my Father’s business,” and I believe that “he that loseth his life” in this pursuit shall find it.
Those were the beliefs of Lyn Mellard, teacher and wife of a Texas rancher.