Frederic Reamer

Scott Indermaur

Race in America.  What a complicated issue.  As a nation, we've wrestled with the complex legacy of our treatment of Native Americans, the painful history of slavery, and, more recently, what it means to be a person of color, an immigrant, a refugee.  The public policy implications of our ruminations are so very challenging, ranging from issues of reparations to affirmative action to immigration.  There seems to be no end to controversy, debate, and competing narratives.

Scott Indermaur

It’s no secret that many people struggle in life: job-related problems, relationship challenges, mental health issues, financial uncertainty.  The list goes on and on.  Yet, some people are remarkably resilient in the face of chronic adversity.  Against daunting odds, they manage to flourish amidst nearly overwhelming challenges.  InParadise Lost, John Milton wrote, “Even the demons are encouraged when their chief is ‘not lost in loss itself.”  Noah Kilroy has much to say about coping with adversity and despair and, ultimately, rising from the proverbial ashes.  

 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Honest Talk

Sep 5, 2017

We're born.  We live.  We die.  It sounds so simple, so linear.  We know better, of course.  Much better.  

One of Rhode Island's great virtues is its remarkably rich mix of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions.  Since Roger Williams' famed arrival in 1636, Rhode Island has served as home for generations of immigrants and refugees from every one of the world's continents.  The world Roger Williams imagined embraced true tolerance, and in many ways our Ocean State his lived up to this noteworthy virtue.  Alas, there are exceptions – exceptions that test the depth of Rhode Islanders' belief in Roger Williams' ideals, a challenge with echoes in this essay by Padma Venkatraman. 

 

How often do you stop to think about how important trust is in your life?  The trust you had as a child that your parents would care for you.  The trust that your spouse, partner, or dear friends would be there for you, even on the bad days. The trust that our political leaders truly have our interests at heart.  We hope, of course, that trust is more than a mere leap of faith.  As Ernest Hemingway said, "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." Thirteen-year-old Faith Felder seems to have learned just that at a very young age.   
 

 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Fleeting Moments

Aug 15, 2017

Memories are central to our lives. We seem to need them, sometimes to relive glorious moments, sometimes to process traumatic events, sometimes to separate the wheat from the chaff of our lives.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Choices

Aug 8, 2017

Amidst life's joys – which all of us hope are many – are the inevitable rough patches, intimidating stumbles, and other assorted obstacles. Nobody makes it through this life unscathed, without some significant speed bumps, untimely detours, or worse.  

You know those middle-of-the-night or early-morning awakenings when your senses are unusually sharp? The slightest sounds take on new meaning, or perhaps otherwise fleeting thoughts become intrusive. Solitude and silence, although sometimes disquieting, seem to invite deep reflection and unusually intense awareness. As Henry David Thoreau says in Walden, “I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”  And we hear echoes of these sentiments in this encore essay by Erik Wilker. 

 


Trauma.  Nobody wants it, but it's inevitable that some form of it will show up in our lives along the way.  Accidents.  Broken hearts.  Abuse.  Chronic illness.  The ravages of war.  Under the best of circumstances, we cope with trauma and move on.  And sometimes, the traumatic events teach us life lessons, and as Ernest Hemingway observed, make us stronger in the broken places.  

This I Believe Rhode Island: Recovering from Stroke

Jul 18, 2017

All of us know, at least in an abstract sort of way, that our life's trajectory can change in a moment.  We march along with a compelling mix of poignant and prosaic experiences and challenges, perhaps with a false sense of security that what we have planned for the near and long term will, indeed, come to fruition.  Alas, as so many of us discover, the best laid plans can be dashed in a heartbeat.  The accident no one saw coming.  The job that ends abruptly.  The relationship that sours because of one impertinent, poorly timed comment.  Or the harrowing medical crisis.

Every life has its share of stumbles and false starts.  The dashed dreams.  Accidents.  Faltering relationships. Health crises.  The enduring challenge for all of us, it seems, is to do our best to cope with adversity when it rears its unbidden head. 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Simple Acts

Jul 5, 2017

So many of us yearn for world peace, the end of poverty and homelessness, and universal health care.  This is the stuff of hopeful dreams, and many of us spend our days doing what we can to move closer to these ideals.  Of course, political obstacles, funding shortfalls, and bureaucratic challenges often stymie our best efforts.  But along with our noble pursuits, it seems so important to remember that meaningful change in our world also occurs incrementally, one small step at a time.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Empathy

Jun 27, 2017

Empathy.  It's such a simple word, only seven letters long.  But the concept is so complex.  Is it really possible to truly understand and appreciate another human being's experience?  Is the expression "I know what you're going through" truly meaningful?  Well, even if it's not, isn't it important to do what we can to appreciate other people's experiences, especially when they suffer?

This I Believe Rhode Island: Hamlet

Jun 20, 2017

Imagine yourself as a high school English teacher trying to inspire your students to grapple with the complex nuances embedded in Shakespearean literature.  Not an easy task, you may be thinking.  But as many of us have come to know and appreciate, often decades post-high school, Shakespeare is chock full of profound insights and life lessons, if only we have the patience and persistence to delve into the Bard’s writings.   In this encore essay we hear how English teacher Chris McEnroe brings Shakespeare into his own life, along with those of his students. 

Every life has its share of crises—of course, we hope few in number with lots and lots of time in between.  No one wants it, but some relationships crash to a halt.  Jobs we cherish evaporate.  Physicians share dire diagnoses and prognoses we don't want to hear. When these moments come our way, don't all of us hope that we don't have to suffer the trials and tribulations alone, that people – even total strangers – take the time to care about us, take the time to lend a hand?  Tim Lemire, certainly thinks so. 

 

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