Laugh, Love and Lift

Martin, Mary


  • Mary Martin describes how an Episcopalian minister and a school teacher gave her the encouragement she needed to build integrity and to pursue her dreams of acting, and recounts an experience in which she lost her voice, but found the strength to recover in a matter of days in time for a major performance, despite some doctor's predictions. Audio also contains advertisement for "This I Believe" ... read more
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mary Martin, the girl from Weatherford, Texas who was once a dancing teacher, has been a Broadway sensation ever since she sang My Heart Belongs to Daddy. She made unprecedented theatrical history as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Now she is starring in a straight play for the first time, a romantic comedy entitled Kind Sir. Here is Mary Martin.
When I was five and people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up I quickly said, "To sing and dance on the stage in New York and to be happily married and have two children."
When I was ten I experienced two memorable moments that have helped guide me ever since.
In the Episcopal Church in Weatherford, Texas, when I told the minister my dreams he said, "God has given you a giving talent. Each of us is a vessel, a medium, of expression. You must have faith to sing and dance. Just believing you can do these things is not enough; studying and working for them, you will do them. Faith is the most powerful means in the world."
The second moment came when my schoolteacher spoke a verse and then gave me a card with the words printed on it. They were: I would be true, for there are those who trust me; I would be pure, for there are those who care; I would be strong, for there is much to suffer; I would be brave, for there is much to dare;
I would be a friend to all-the foe-the friendless; I would be giving and forget the gift; I would be humble, for I know my weakness; I would look up and laugh and love and lift.
I was told these things at a wonderfully impressionable age and they have never left me. I have been happily married for fourteen years and we have two healthy, happy children. I sing and dance on the stage. But there have been great tests of my faith.
Once during a performance of Annie Get Your Gun in Oklahoma City I suddenly couldn't sing. Not a sound came out. All the doctors I saw that night and the next day said I must not sing or speak for weeks, or I might never sing again.
We were to open in Los Angeles in less than five days. I consulted a throat specialist there. Could I open? He wouldn't say, but immediately he began treatments, three times a day. The afternoon of the opening, I asked him again, could I perform that night? He said only I could answer the question. We went to the theater. I stood on the stage and sang a scale, the first sound of any kind I had made in four days. They said they could hear me in the last row of the top balcony.
Shaking, I went to my dressing room and lay down. In the quiet darkness I was able to clear away the suspense, the doubts and fears. The doctor had given me every help. People who had faith in me depended on my opening that night.
Now I felt a moment of the greatest joy and a new strength came. I breathed deeply and held each moment of strength within me. Long before my cue, I knew I had much to give that night, and within me, I knew, was more than enough of the necessary health and happiness to give.
I have met many people some smile or doubt or deride any attempt to give expression to a faith. Yet, I have known that there are those who trust me, those who care; there is much to suffer, much to dare; I know my weakness, my friends and the friendless. I know the joy of giving and I have been given to beyond wishes or dreams.
I want to look up and laugh and love and lift. I have had faith from an early age. My faith, only my faith, has made my every wish come true. This I believe, this I know without exception.
Those were the personal beliefs of Mary Martin. They were chosen from the beliefs broadcast in the past two years for inclusion in the new This I Believe book, now at your bookstore.