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This I Believe
Often times, I don’t like to speak openly about my opinions because sometimes people are offended by such strong opinions. This occasion finally gives me the opportunity to speak aloud my feelings and beliefs with complete freedom, so I took advantage of it. I started on this paper late so I won’t be able to cover everything, but I felt the need to get my point across and hopefully make my beliefs clear.
I believe in the morals of Christianity, the preservation of history and the virtue of respect. Nowadays, many people I encounter either show these in amazing amounts or don’t show them at all. I feel that these three things coincide in making up a well-rounded person who exhibits rare traits.
The Morals of Christianity
I do not have the authority to preach my opinions of what makes a good Christian, but I do have the freedom of speech to state what I believe goes into a good Christian. Faith, honesty, love and respect for everyone, and the ability to admit that you are not perfect are but a few characteristics I hope every Christian holds.
Jesus is an advocate for everyone, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He exists because God saw the need to personify purity and give people a living example of why we should have faith, not only in God, but in ourselves. Jesus gave the world a new kind of hope that they had never experienced before and that we still have today. We need to understand that we are not perfect; we all sin, and we all lack in many ways, but we can fill in these gaps by entrusting God with our lives. Sometimes people are so puffed up with pride that they forget this - even the most devoted Christians face this problem because it is simply human nature. I deeply admire those, like my preachers, who can look past this and help others to do so as well.
Christianity is sometimes called the religion of love because its followers are taught that you must never hold a grudge, seek revenge, or anything of the sort, but rather pray for the ability to forgive. This is something with which I struggle sometimes because it’s so easy to place the blame on other people. Over the years, though, the people of my church have helped me past this and I feel that I forgive more easily than I used to. This is something we all must aspire to do. Of course we won’t reach perfection, but God will help us along the way.
To see people who are what I deem as devoted and faithful Christians makes me smile. It sometimes feels like there’s no hope, but there really is. Even non-Christians who are loving and kind to all brings a warmth to my heart knowing that God really is all around us and will not let us down.
Preservation of History
Too often do I see beautiful homes and buildings destroyed due to the cheapness or carelessness of the owner. People don’t put the care and work into building that they used to; 100+ years ago, men rose at dawn and worked until dark alongside their family and friends to make a building come to life and suit every need of the owner. It just isn’t the same today. No more hand-carved woodwork with initials etched in them, no more awkward mistakes that despite of which the building still stands today, but rather machine-made, mass-produced materials that are nailed into place with a big nail-gun instead of an heirloom hammer. To see someone tear down a building into which such care went breaks my heart because that home or barn or office or store meant something to a lot of people.
However, homes the like Skinner House in Griggsville, Illinois, are relics that someone who shares my appreciation of history decided needed to be saved. Despite the rapid destruction, there are those people, like me, who care about the building’s story and find it necessary to preserve it.
I collect antiques. Not so much couches and jewelry, but books and instruments and other personal items. I love the fact that there is a story behind them. I feel the need to snatch such items up whenever possible so I can learn about the person who owned them and feel a connection to them and preserve the things they loved and valued. I love local history museums because I can see what life was like in my own community in years past, but it makes me sad to think that there may not be any family left to inherit those pictures and possessions and learn the family’s history.
The Virtue of Respect
Respect is an art that must be perfected with practice. To some, it comes naturally. To others, it is a daily challenge. It’s all about how much you desire to respect and be respected in return. I try my best to be respectful to all, especially new people. Everyone needs a chance, and maybe even another chance or two if the first impression was not a good one. Stereotypes are a tough thing to avoid; we all do it and we can’t help it. We all judge, it’s just a matter of not always speaking your mind. When meeting someone new who looks bad in some way, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Many times, that person turns out to be kind and trustworthy.
We can all learn something from Harper Lee’s "To Kill a Mockingbird." Atticus and his children grow throughout the story in their respect and they learn how to better understand the differences between people. The children, Jem and Scout, learn that you have to respect everyone because you don’t know everything that could be troubling them; that the best thing to do is offer help and know when to take a step back and evaluate the situation with a new mind.
In conclusion, I am a young lady with old-fashioned beliefs and values. I see things differently and am sometimes shunned for such opinions, but it does not deter me from pursuing what I believe to be the right path, even if I don’t yet know where it leads. We all have lives to live and we should strive to be the best we can be.
"You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies, you may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I rise." -Maya Angelou
"I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." -Robert Frost
"Those who were seen dancing were thought mad by those who could not hear the music." - Friedrick Neitzsche