this I believe

It's no secret that life doesn't always unfold the way we'd like.  During our childhoods, most of us imagined a future full of nurture and promise, replete with the hard earned fruits of our labor.  For some, those proverbial dreams come true; alas, for others these youthful hopes and dreams are dashed along the way.  Life happens, and it's not always a pretty picture.  Some how, some way, some of us, like high school student Erin Spitznagel, manage to move past the challenge with remarkable resilience and fortitude.  
 

 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Signs

Feb 7, 2017

Many years ago my wife and I took a late afternoon hike in a nearby forest. We sauntered through the dense woods with our then-infant daughter nestled in the pack on my back.  We lost track of time and suddenly noticed that the sun was setting far earlier than we expected.  And, we were low on infant formula.  

Those of us who have been blessed with long-term marriages or partners often wonder what life will be like if we outlive our mate.  

Life is so full of mystery and wonder.  Isn't it humbling when four-year-olds ask questions that are so hard to answer?  How is it that every spring, like clockwork, a woodpecker shows up at the same tree, letting us know the season has arrived?  How does an infant's brain begin to acquire language?  Is it possible that a person's soul continues to exist after death?  Perhaps we'll never be able to answer such questions adequately. Sandra Enos shares her poignant insights about managing life's enduring conundrums.   
 

 

The roughly one million residents of the Ocean State traveled such diverse paths to get here.  

This I Believe Rhode Island: Hospice Care

Jan 11, 2017

It may seem all too hackneyed to say that death is a mysterious, often anxiety-producing, subject.  

This I Believe Rhode Island: Carnival

Jan 3, 2017

Youthful frolic.  Remember those days, filled with all manner of excursions on the wild side, curiosity-driven cavorting, and adolescent drama?  For sure, these sorts of endeavors often amount to nothing more than spontaneous delights, perhaps with a little hedonism in there for good measure.  But as we hear from Frederick Massie, on occasion these moments are filled with profound, sometimes deeply disquieting lessons.
 

Frederick Massie is the Rhode Island Bar Association's Director of Communications and Editor of the Rhode Island Bar Journal. A graduate of Brown University, his wide-ranging experience includes work as an educator, writer and advocate.

So many moments in life call for courage and grit. Managing a bad medical diagnosis. Absorbing the unexpected news that you’ve just been laid off of the job you've loved for years. Having your romantic fantasies dashed by the startling text message informing you that your partner has decided it's best to part ways. These are the moments that require us to dig deep – real deep – to find that inner strength we hope we have. And these are the sorts of moments that mean so much to Lori Ayotte.  

 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Written Words

Dec 21, 2016

Words matter. They matter a lot.  Carefully chosen and timely words have the capacity to spark a lifelong romance.  Vicious words also can serve as the proverbial knife thrust into the broken heart.  Soothing words offer solace in the midst of emotional torment, and, carefully strung together, can form a stunningly inspiring poem.  Listen to what Confucius had to say about the subject nearly 2,500 years ago:  “Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.” Clearly, Stephanie Nary agrees. 
 

 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Skywatching

Dec 13, 2016

Perhaps it sounds too much like a cliché to say that in this remarkably fast-paced world, as we live our lives bombarded with digital and other rapid-fire, nonstop stimuli and the relentless demands of our modern-day lives, it's so important to slow things down and reflect on where we are in the moment.  But some cliches are profound and worth repeating, aren't they?  Thousands of years ago Confucius concluded that true reflection is one of the principal paths toward wisdom.  Scott Turner thinks much the same.    
 

Life is full of contradictions and inconsistencies, especially in those moments when we yearn for clarity. As the author Scott Turow noted about our efforts to grapple with uncertainty in the stories of our lives, "The purpose of narrative is to present us with complexity and ambiguity."  Issues that appear, at first glance, to be in sharp black and white relief quickly drift into shades of gray. That's what Beth Taylor reflects on with regard to distressingly ambiguous matters of war and peace.
 

It's no secret that our world is saturated with distressing conflict.  Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Turkey. Yemen. Lybia. South Sudan. And on and on. Every day, it seems, we're overwhelmed with daunting news of more intractable strife. It can be so hard to find hope in the midst of such horror. Yet, hope we must. As Albert Einstein observed, "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding." And there are real seeds of such understanding in reflections by Penina Satlow.   

 

Those of us who are raising daughters in this modern era perhaps take it for granted that they have as much opportunity as their male counterparts to enroll in college and reach for the educational stars.  This wasn't always the case, of course, but today no thoughtful American would imagine denying women equal access.  Sadly, in many parts of the world girls and women continue to face insurmountable barriers.  Indeed, some courageous women have challenged the daunting obstacles they face and, along the way, paid a very steep price.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Studying History

Nov 15, 2016

For some, studying history conjures up images of dusty documents piled high in the library stacks or a professor's book-filled office.  How many of us can recall history courses where we studied fistfuls of flashcards before the exam, doing our best to memorize a litany of dates and what seemed like arcane facts that we quickly forgot?  Some of us were fortunate to have truly inspiring and talented teachers who made history come alive, who taught us how to think about our collective past as a way to understand where we are in life now, and where we may be headed.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Providence

Nov 9, 2016

A sense of place.  Community.  Roots.  Some of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out where we're from, who we are, where we belong.  Oliver Wendell Holmes -- the poet and physician whose son became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice -- once wrote, "Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."  In this encore essay we hear from Ria Mirchandani about her fruitful search for a sense of home as she forges her path in life.

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