This I Believe

Kiser, Martha Gwinn


  • Children's author Martha Kiser talks about her faith in all people and her beliefs in the immortality of the soul, the importance of compassion, work and friendship.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Martha Gwinn Kiser is a writer of fiction for children and teenagers. She lived in Bloomfield, Indiana until she was seventeen, and then went to Chicago where she worked at Sears-Roebuck during the days and attended high school evenings. Six years ago she sold her first book, Sylvia Sings of Apples, and since then she has written many novels and juveniles. Here now are the beliefs of Miss Martha Gwinn Kiser.
I believe in the complexity of small and simple things, and I believe in the simplicity of things profound. I believe that one man’s failure may be as fine and high and laudable as another man’s triumph, that making the trip is more important than arrival at the destination, because I believe that true success is an honest effort more than an achievement. I believe it is human nature for every man, either believer or unbeliever in divinity, to believe in the right and seek it. “But,” they argue, “the thug, the harlot, the jealous and the greedy, the ones who work woeful and what seems willful havoc in another one’s life. What have you to say for them?” I still believe that each works for something, gropes for something better than he has yet attained, according to his own experience and education, or according to his lack of them.
I too believe that when it comes to the subject of mortality and immortality that nothing ever dies. Nothing is put away, neither words, nor looks, nor acts, nor longings. They may have come to us, paused, and passed away, so far as we can see with the physical eye and the wistful spirit, but they still live, so long as their memory remains in our heart…because the things that we remember are. Remembered things are immortal. If you loved a soul and thought him good, he was good, regardless of his subsequent and perhaps questionable actions. If you had a dream which you thought was fine and lost it, it still remains somewhere. The chances are that you walked away from it, rather than it drifted away from you. You can get it back if you will.
I believe that the unjust critic and the backbiter and the troublemaker each tells his scurrilous story and does his damaging bit to bolster his own weak self-confidence and self-esteem. I believe that though a man may rub his fellow’s wounds with salt, it is because he has been rubbed with salt in his own poor wounds.
Oh, I believe so many things, so many sad things, but still so many happy and beautiful ones, about work and friendship and kindness. I believe that work, one’s own work, is a sturdy ship which will take one safely into harbor over stormy seas, a ship that is hard to man in many a squall, still one that always plows steadily into port.
Of friendship…I believe it is a poor friend indeed who will stand in shame’s silence while his fellow falls under unmerited criticism or ridicule.
I believe that not always is a man’s worth known by the friends that he keeps, but sometimes by the enemies that he makes. I believe that it is better for a dog to run alone than with a snapping pack. And I believe that seeds of kindness sown upon the wind will blow back and yield a ride of blossoms at one’s own door stone.
All the poor and the servile and the unsuccessful, and sometimes even the innocently stupid, have taught me so many rich and authoritive and victorious and wise things. They have taught me as much that I cherish as their superiors ever have. And how may I thank them? Only, perhaps, by giving my best in all things, things which they and their fellows may have just as wistfully sought after as I, but missed.
Those were the beliefs of Martha Gwinn Kiser of Maywood, Illinois.