I Believe

“In a thing called love,

 just listen to the rhythm of my heart,

there’s a chance we could make it now,

We’ll be rocking ‘til the sun goes down,

I believe in a thing called love,

Oooh!” – The Darkness


I am taking part in a writing challenge again and when I read the prompt “I Believe” the above song lyric was the first thing that popped into my head.  I loved The Darkness when I was 17/18 all those glittery cat suits, the big hair and the bangin’ tunes.

When I started thinking about it a little more seriously I was struck by just how many things I do believe in.  Should I write a list or focus in on one big thing?  As I was writing though it became clear that my initial instinct was right: I believe in a thing called love and the examples below are hopefully just different expressions of that love because at the heart of me is this: I believe in Jesus, the son of God, made man, who lived as a man in order to teach us the path of love.

I believe love: the romantic kind and the kind that shows up everyday in the small things.  For me this looks like trying to remember to check my voice before I snap and show irritation, in determinedly deciding not to respond in a way that will escalate a situation because that person is tired and didn’t mean it, in deciding to make them a cup of tea or take the bins out without being asked.

I believe in love that listens, even when it’s hard to hear, even when you feel like you are misunderstood and misrepresented to others’.  I believe that if you are responding from a loving heart you can try to empathise, to understand and to respond in a way that isn’t dismissive of others’ and this means putting that hurt pride and defensiveness aside (not easy).

I believe in taking no sh*t.  If someone is abusing you, treating you badly and not respecting your boundaries you have the responsibility to re set the boundaries for that relationship.  Not them.

I believe in using your voice, not supressing it.

I believe in listening to others’ pain and sitting with them in it as a form of healing.  I also believe that to be trusted with another’s pain is one of life’s greatest privileges.

I believe that often we think we are the helper and then find out that we have been the helped.  My job helping people facing homelessness seems from the outside like I should be doling out the life lessons but I get way more back.

I believe that white privilege runs deep.

I believe in learning from those most hurt or affected by a situation, especially if they are different for me.  We’re told you only get offended by everything if you are a “lefty snowflake”, it was A JOKE, for goodness sake, can’t we all just learn to chill out and not take everything so seriously all.the.time.  The thing is though, it’s only a joke if the person who is the subject of it decides its funny.  Otherwise its just hurtful.  Boris Johnson recently made some (more) racist comments about Muslim women, a lot of people said they were racist, some people said they were just a joke, no one bothered to ask any Muslim women how they felt about it though.

I believe in good manners.

I believe in writing Thank You notes, Birthday Cards, Christmas Cards, New Job Cards and genuinely cheering people on.

I believe in saying “sorry”.

I believe in asking questions, not just doing something blindly.

I believe that barring a broken heart there is nothing a bit of sleep, quiet and a good hug can’t fix.

I believe in laughing.

I believe that books and education are so important, you go places if you are a reader, doors open (oftentimes into other worlds) and shape you as a person.  Once you have learned something you cannot un-learn it (unless it’s Trigonometry, which no one needs anyway) and that’s why it is so powerful in changing view points and allowing empathy to flourish.

I believe in miracles.

I believe in speaking truth to power, even when power doesn’t listen.

I believe that single parents are every day superheroes.  Often demonised by society for circumstances they do the job of two parents on half the income.  If you know a single parent, buy them a cup of tea and tell them they’re doing an amazing job.

I believe that if you are silent in the face of evil you become complicit.

I believe, after lots of participant based research, that Belgian Chocolate is superior to any other and that life without a bit of chocolate would be a bit sadder and life can be sad enough.

I believe that everything is cyclical: seasons, pain, grief, anger, joy.  Everything comes around again and hopefully you experience it differently having learned lessons along the way.

I believe that “self-care” can be sleep, it can be refusing to listen to the inner critic, it can be getting your nails done, it can be going for a run, it can be eating a bit of cake, it can be sitting quietly with your thoughts, it can be getting away for a few days, it can be having a bath, it can be eating some fruit, it can be giving yourself permission to feel how you feel.  In other words, it can be anything you need it to be and it doesn’t have to cost anything.

I believe that friends can be just as important as family, they are after all, the family you choose.

I believe in judging people by their actions.  As Maya Angelou said: “if someone shows you who they are, believe them”.

I believe that re reading The Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder or Harry Potter is always a good idea.

I believe that we should listen to young people, to women, to people of colour, to people who are disabled or marginalised.

I believe in saying “no”.

I believe in saying “yes”.

I believe in saying “great for her, but not for me” (Amy Poehler).

I believe that if Jesus were alive now you would find him sitting with the excluded, the marginalised and the under-represented.  So if you want to be like Jesus, to be “Christ-like” or in other words, a Christian, you need to show up for these people in your community.  Not in a preach-y “I know better that you, let me show you the error of your ways” way either but in a “teach me, help me to see things from your point of view and what can I do to be an ally?” way.  That means LISTENING.  Properly listening, not just waiting your turn to respond, but accepting others’ experience and learning from them.

I believe in forgiving others and myself, myself most of all, over and over and over again.