Like so many heartfelt posts that I’ve wanted to write, this one has been written well over half a dozen times in google drive: testing, feeling, sounding out which phrases resonate with me. I haven’t been sure whether to get really practical – as I usually do – or keep things on the level of musing, theoretical, and abstract. In the end, emotions and ideas won out.
All during September we blogged and thought about Belief at Connect Shore, and so I got curious about what I really truly believed. What makes me tick? I couldn’t stop thinking about this for weeks.
As always, I found out as I wrote and tested these ideas in ‘real world’ conversation, what I think is most shocking are instead the concepts that I talk about non-stop through my actions and facebook posts. It’s not much of a surprise to others that I believe in these things. But, the process of working through my core beliefs, all in one place, at one time, was very moving and exhilarating for me.
Actually making my beliefs into tangible tokens took those emotions one step further. I literally couldn’t sleep for hours one night because I was so excited that I had made these particular beliefs so clear. And then the next day (figuratively speaking) I was down in the dumps because even though I believe that these are the important things in life… I was worried that my actions don’t always match my beliefs perfectly. This is something, even after making the cards and contemplating everything I still don’t have an answer for too.
Even though my created trump cards don’t live up to everything I imagined… they come close. The idea of trump cards makes perfect sense in my head – Beliefs that supercede and engulf small waves of interpretation – like a Queen gobbling up a lowly Eight. These are abstract principles that unify your life in all it’s seemingly – but not actually – disparate parts. Principles that are called by so many other names like Core Values or in French – Raisons D’Etre. These are my foundations. The undergirding of my actions and wishes to act. They are strings that resonate throughout the symphony of my life; and I hear their tones repeated as point and counterpoint.
As I said, I didn’t want to just write a post about these things I believe, I wanted to illustrate them.
So I created a set of cards detailing six of my very most important beliefs. I think they can be divided into beliefs that affect my inward life, and beliefs that affect my outward actions.
To sort them out I made lists of catchphrases that have resonated with me throughout my emerging adulthood. I edited them for those strains which had lasted the longest and recurred the most times. That is how I got six categories, and many phrases which I have repeated to myself like parables.
Inward Beliefs: Discipline, Wisdom, and Balance
I realized that these particular beliefs for me are born out of being a Christian, and all of my beliefs spring out of Freedom within a Framework of Faith a phrase I was first introduced to at Gordon College. I felt that I had to incorporate that somehow. In order to represent my faith, I included the first line of the Apostles Creed, the essentials that I hold to be true when it comes to Christianity. They also give me a freedom to practice my other values. (I know that others can reach these values without a Christian background, but that is how I reached them.)
As I’ve been re-reading the wonderful book Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson I’ve been mindful to treat these values as “familiar components in the response to new situations.”
I don’t think they’ll change… but maybe other beliefs will replace them over time. I can only wait and see.