This I Believe

Stacy-Judd, Robert


  • Robert Stacy-Judd relates an experience from early in his career when unemployment left him homeless and in despair; however, rather than taking his own life, he had the opportunity to prevent another from committing suicide, establishing his faith in divine help, prayer, and a sense of humor.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Robert B. Stacy-Judd is an architect. He was born in London, came to the United States at the age of twenty and became an American citizen. He has made many expeditions into the jungles of Central America, particularly Yucatan, exploring the Maya ruin area. He was the first architect in this country to utilize the Mayan motif. He has written numerous technical articles, poems, fiction and plays. Here now is Robert Stacy-Judd.
Running away from home is not to be recommended, but at sixteen, that is what I did. Not that my home life was unpleasant—far from it. Father objected to my choice of a profession. I wanted to be an architect.
I articled myself to an architect in a large city on the east coast of England. At the end of my five years apprenticeship, business conditions throughout the country were at a low ebb. I returned to London, too obstinate to go to my family and friends. I had chosen a course and determined to fight my own battles.
London was filled with the unemployed. For weeks, I had walked the streets willing to take any occupation available. Then my small capital ended. That and the outlook of a dreary winter added to a long, growing bitterness and hopelessness. Homeless, I sought solace and sleep on the Thames embankment seats.
In the middle of a very dark and drizzly night, I sat wedged among the dregs of human flotsam and jetsam. Suddenly a figure left our midst
and leapt to the top of the embankment wall. Just as the body was about to plunge into the bleak waters of the river Thames, I hauled it back. Man or woman, I couldn’t tell due to the darkness. It huddled at my feet; I crouched beside it.
I cannot recall why, but in a low voice, I began to talk to it, offered seemingly wasted encouragement. It never uttered a sound. Unknowingly, I found myself urging it to seek the very faith I so desperately needed. Finally, I rose. It slinked into the darkness after pressing my hand. I walked to the fountain and sat on a stone seat, cold and wet but strangely elated.
Before the gray light of dawn, I had time for hours of self analysis. Among many other things, I recall that all the greatest philosophers throughout the ages were agreed as to the ever presence of a supreme being. I argued then the creator of all things in the universe would
not have designed the amazing mechanism of man’s body and reasoning brain merely to end the experiment at his physical death. As nothing can be destroyed, then there must be an indestructible entity in man—the soul, the universal spirit. I had waited for others to provide help, whereas the solution to my problems was within me.
A short while later, conditions changed for the better. Skeptics will say this would have happened in any case. But experience since then has convinced me otherwise. Many times in the course of a long and somewhat adventurous career, unfailing belief has enabled me to overcome many crises.
Without water in the uninhabited jungles of Central America, I asked for divine help, and to my mind, miraculously received it. Whether lost
in the vast, unexplored caverns of that country, racing diagonally across an approaching Canadian prairie fire to the only escape trail, lying snow-buried in a raging blizzard in the Dakota wilds, or the less dramatic, though serious episodes of, per se, business ventures in many parts of the world, I never lost faith.
It remained for a would-be suicide to indicate the turning point in my life. From then on, I have believed in having faith in the almighty, prayer, and a sense of humor.
That was Robert Stacy-Judd, whose architectural work is found in England, the United States, Canada and Hawaii.