This I Believe
Hayes, Anna Hansen
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Anna Hansen Hayes is a national civic leader. Her work when president of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers carried her to every state and to Canada, Cuba and Japan. Her many civic tasks now include that of associate editor of the PTA magazine. Married for forty-eight years, and a grandmother, she is the author of numerous articles and several volumes of poetry. Here now are the beliefs of Anna Hansen Hayes.
Can you see a 9-year-old girl running swiftly across a clearing in the forest, suddenly bowled over by a bolt of lightning? I was that child. Regaining consciousness, I limped shakily back to our camp with a hurt knee and an hysterical fear of electric storms. Before long, acute nervousness developed, and I was taken out of school, sent to live with my aunt and uncle on a farm a day’s journey from home. There I grew stronger, learning a new life with farm creatures for playmates and a kindly Indian woman for a guide.
One day, during a severe electric storm, my aunt—trying to quiet my fears—told me gently that “one who fears has no faith in God.” Then she went out into the storm to bring in clothes from the line. I, too, went out into the storm, running down through the orchard to the creek where overhanging willows and wild currant bushes made a shelter from the rain. Feet first, I wormed my way back as far as possible under the bushes.
There I lay, praying, until the thunder ceased and the lightning became wide flashes on the distant horizon. I felt quiet and cool, and somehow found the conviction that one cannot live, love, and trust God completely, and still be afraid of natural phenomena.
I began then to appreciate the beauty and power of an electric storm, and with that appreciation came a growing sense of my relationship to God’s world.
I believe that fear is incompatible with faith. I believe that God does not send bereavement and sorrow nor any affliction to punish us. I believe that it is possible for me to grow in character and spirit from hardship and bereavement, if I discard self-pity and earnestly seek to learn those physical and moral laws that regulate our world.
I believe that every person alive has the power to do something—a little, at least—to advance the kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven.
But I believe, also, that I can accomplish such a joyous purpose only when I long for the success of others, and when I am content with whatever work needs my hands at the moment.
I believe in St. John’s eloquent warning that “He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death.” And I believe also that I must accept that word, “brother,” to mean any person on the face of the earth, because of His decree that “All men are brothers.”
I believe that my life is of value only as it becomes a functioning part of a glorious plan for the kingdom of God on earth.
For this, I need a little more love for my fellow man; a little more sympathy; a little more will in my heart to believe in his integrity; a little more shared for my neighbor’s need; much less concern about me; more understanding the hopes of those who strive, now, for liberty; a little more faith in the word of God; a little more hope for His plan that “All of us dwell in one brotherhood,” and “Peace light the heart of each man.”
That was Anna Hansen Hayes, youth welfare leader of Twin Falls, Idaho.