For the last two years, I have published on the Monday after Epiphany Sunday a summary of my own epiphany that I learned in the last 12 months. During the year of 2008, I learned one lesson over and over again: that absolutely nothing is black and white, and that I’d have to apply much more brain power to my decision–figuring out things for myself and relying less on other people to tell me what to do–than I would like. I am very Catholic. I like clean lines and rule books. I have certain paragraphs of the Catechism memorized.
That’s so much easier. And when you mess up, you always have someone to blame. But now that I’m almost halfway over with my life, I think it’s time to grow up and use prefrontal cortex of my brain (responsible for rational thought).
So my epiphany this year is this: the world is full of colors. Some of you will recognize the following that I submitted to NPR’s “This I Believe” series, and (yah!) it was accepted (but not for the broadcast series) into their collection of essays. (Side note: so was the essay penned by Holly Lebowitz Rossi, click here, and the one authored by Larry Parker!)
I hope I don’t go to hell for having my own original thoughts. Here it is ….
I believe in a world of colors. A Crayola box full. A life of hues that exists between the continents of Black and White. I believe in nuanced theories rather than dogmatic statements, in thoughtful queries over simplistic answers. I believe in confusion and wonder as a path to clarity.
I believe in questions. And the presence of God in mystery.
I believe in conversations. Lots of them. In different languages. Between contrasting cultures. Among incompatible people. I believe in difficult and awkward dialog between mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, siblings, neighbors, and friends. I believe in challenging negotiations between countries, families, and people.
I believe in uncertainty and fuzzy lines, and in forgiveness.
I believe in optimism. In believing the best about a person even when his behavior says otherwise. I believe that in all evil there exists a chance for goodness, and that in all darkness is found a speck of light. And I believe that pure virtue isn’t immune to corruption, that truth and light can emerge from darkness.
I believe in stripes. Not solids.
I believe that a person can change her opinions as many times as she wishes throughout her life. That the woman who lived by every rule in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in college is allowed to recognize the wisdom in the four noble truths of Buddhism after her graduation, that one philosophy need not define her forever.
I believe in the beauty of evolution. Of the mind and spirit and body. And in different seasons.
I believe that a diagnosis doesn’t have to predict someone’s future. That in every recovery there exists the possibility of a miracle. I believe less in symptoms than I do in strategies for healthy living that treat every functioning organ within the human body and the soul that encapsulates all of them. I believe in all kinds of medicine and every type of treatment that better connect a person’s mind, body, and soul to each other.
I believe in healing and wholeness.