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02 March 2015

10 Things I Believe In ● by Jess

Lately I've been surrounded by some very passionate people. I think that kind of enthusiasm and fervor tends to rubs off people and it has made me ponder a lot on my own beliefs. In no particular order, here are a few of the things that I believe: 

10 Things I Believe In

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with an ex-boyfriend. We caught each other up on one another's lives, and I (of course... one must make use of these moments to gush) told him about getting married to Jon. 

He told me how lucky I was to have such a happy marriage, which I thought was a really sweet thing to say... the first two times he said it. Unfortunately, over the course of the conversation, he continued to attribute  all the good things that have happened in my relationship, to luck. 

It obviously irked me and, in hindsight, I wish I had stopped him and said, "Yes, I am so lucky to have found a guy like Jon, but luck isn't the reason we're together."

As our families and close friends can attest, our dating days were abysmal. Between the tears, the frustration and the numerous break-ups, it is definitely not a time I like to think about. But, it is because of the difficulties PRE-marriage, that our marriage NOW feels so blissful and effortless. Love requires patience, forgiveness and an acceptance of the other person's weaknesses. It's a beautiful thing, but you've got to earn it. 

10 Things I Believe In
I get unreasonably peeved when someone flippantly says, "But if you TEACH a man to fish, you feed him for life!" As if somehow it magically solves every problem of global poverty. Here's why--

Let's pretend this unlearned man is real. Now, let's teach him to fish. Immediately, I have concerns:

Are you giving him the pole/net? What if it breaks? Have you also taught him how to fix it? Will he be able to afford it? What about this man's family? Can he catch enough to sustain his wife/children?

Assuming you've put all that in order, let's think about the logistics of fishing:

Does he need a fishing licence? Who pays for that?

Now let's zoom out a bit:

Where is he fishing? Is there a sustainable number of fish in the pond/river? Whose land is he fishing on? Who owns the water rights?

Now let's think environment:

Is there any environmental toxins in the area that might be polluting the water?  When was the water last tested? Is it possible that mercury levels in the fish will actually kill him instead of save him?

This is just a taste of all the many many many things that must be considered in development; Education is vital, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. 

10 Things I Believe In
 Does anything more need to be said, really?

10 Things I Believe In
I believe firmly in happily EVER AFTERs. 

I believe with all my heart in a loving Heavenly Father that allows families to stay together for always. If this idea feels as true to you as it does to me, you should check out this short film

10 Things I Believe In
Growing up, my parents always were very encouraging of their children getting an education and learning. That being said, I think it is safe to place their approach in the "education as a means to an end" category, ie a way to get a good job. I was raised with the caution to avoid becoming the dreaded "professional student" (someone who just keeps amassing degrees and never gets a real job). 

This is a point where I have to lovingly disagree with my parents... I think, as long as you can afford it, being a professional student sounds like my dream life. I'm pretty sure Jon and I will never have a normal-sized house, but we'll have travelled tons and have a lovely collection of degrees. Priorities, Priorities, I guess.

10 Things I Believe In
When I lived in eastern Europe, I saw the after-effects of communism on the people of Romania. Parents easily gave their children to orphanages if they had even the simplest of handicaps (like cleft palates or club feet, which are in no way cognitive!). It made my heart hurt. Couldn't they see that their children needed them

When I came back to the States and started realising America has the same sort of problems. So many of society's maladies could be healed if every child felt safe and loved... and saw their fathers treating their mothers with love and respect... and were taught the difference between right and wrong. Surely there would still be problems in the world, but a whooooooooole lot less of them. 

10 Things I Believe In
 I believe God answers our prayers in two ways: 

1) Directly - You'll get an impression, thought or sign to do something. You do it. All is well. 


2) Directionally - You'll get an impression, thought or sign to do something. You do it. But then.... what you anticipated never materialises. Maybe this is applying for a job, or pursuing a relationship, or undergoing a medical treatment... You do what you feel prompted to do, but in the end, it doesn't work out. 

Does that mean God LIED TO YOU??

This second kind of revelation is a bit like God has given you the North Star. You'll never actually get to that destination in the distance, but it will orient you, so that you get to where he needs you in the end.

10 Things I Believe In

 When we were first married, Jon and I lived in NYC. I hated it. 

I know to most people reading this, those words are some sort of sacrilege, but it's the truth. New York just seemed so dirty and crowded and unsafe. It was like this little cesspool of sadness, and it made me very unhappy. 

Then I found this blog, and seeing the author running around with her little boy, taking photos and having adventures, just made me stop and think -- WHOA! I want that!

So, I got out a camera, hustled my buns into Manhattan (from Queens) and started looking at the city through a lens. Suddenly, this beautiful Neverland of glass and steel and people opened up to me. Hello camera, bye-bye sadness. 

10 Things I Believe In
 The very best thing you can do with your time and money is invest it into preserving memories-- 

A few ideas:
Scanning old film
Recording your grandparents, children or yourself

Life is fleeting and you are the only one that can catch the memories and save them for later.

10 Things I Believe In

At the risk of sounding like this video, I won't preach too much on this topic, except to say that I've been changed for the better by meeting lots of different kinds of people and seeing how they live. Travel is an adventure worth having. It will open your mind, diminish your prejudices and excite your soul.
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