This I Believe
Donaldson, Anne Talbot
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Anne Talbot Donaldson, wife of one of the builders of the Grand Coulee Dam, was born in Missouri, reared in Wyoming and Pennsylvania, now lives in Yonkers, New York. A most energetic citizen, interested in everything from women voters to housing projects. Here, her creed.
The basis of what I believe is the Christian religion, in which I was brought up by my father, an Episcopal missionary bishop. Despite of much compromise and considerable doubt considering some of the
orthodox features of my early training, the years have brought no change in its fundamental teaching: the loving Fatherhood of God; the brotherhood of man; the ultimate triumph of good over evil; and the painfully slow development by mankind, with God’s help, of a Kingdom of Heaven, either here or elsewhere.
I believe, therefore, that the most important, most worthwhile thing that any of us can do in this life is to make the best possible contribution toward the beginning of God’s Kingdom here on Earth. This belief gives me comfort and satisfaction,
not only in my own church, with its beautiful, familiar services, but in other churches and groups of people which are earnestly striving to build a better world.
Of course, the serious problem of this, I believe, is in living it day by day. Here I’m often discouraged deeply, but it consoles me to realize that in a long life I have known very few individuals who could be said to have lived really Christian lives. These few have been humble, saintly people, often missionaries, who have given up everything that I consider necessary to my happiness, in order to
carry the tidings of great joy to all people. But they were so much above the average human being in goodness and sacrifice—so much in the world but not of it—that I could not even hope to follow their example. How can I, just an ordinary woman with a husband and children who have to conform, more or less, to the manmade rules of business and society, the class to which most of us belong; how can we expect to live fulltime, Christian lives?
The world in which we live is unchristian, continually at war with no conception of
the brotherhood of man. Even in our own boasted and beloved democracy, our economic system—in which the profit motive is still the controlling factor—works terrible inequalities and injustices, so that in peacetime one-third to one-half of our brethren live miserably in slums with insufficient food and clothing; while in wartime, as at present, we spend millions—more than enough to have remedied these evils—in an avowed and supreme effort to destroy our enemies, all of which is a complete repudiation of everything that Jesus lived and died to teach us, and that we earnestly profess to believe.
And yet I believe that there is hope, great hope, for a better world on this Earth, which even I can help in the making and which will be at least a step toward the heavenly kingdom. This I believe because in the past fifty years of my life, I have seen this American world of ours make great progress toward a better way of life. And this has been accomplished not only by our finest, most saintly leaders but by the stumbling efforts of ordinary men and women of loving goodwill.
In my own time, I have seen an awakened social consciousness,
a frank acknowledgement by many groups of the inadequacies of our economic system, and unselfish, successful efforts here and there to remedy them. We have made great strides in our public education system, public low-rent housing, general welfare. Even in our recent wars, with all their horrors, we have lost some of the blind hate and intolerance of earlier times, and there is increasing talk of the stupidity and futility of war as a means of solving problems.
There are many signs of better racial feeling and of international interest that is not purely commercial. When I see these results of the often feeble efforts of halfhearted people like myself, I, who profess and call myself Christian, am greatly heartened and proud, very proud, not of what I can accomplish, but of this, I believe, can and will be accomplished in God’s good time.
That was Mrs. Anne Talbot Donaldson of Yonkers, New York, wife, mother, grandmother, who serves humanity with a crusading heart.