this I believe

This I Believe New England: Empathy

Feb 20, 2018
Scott Indermaur

  Empathy – real empathy – is a mysterious phenomenon.  The poet Walt Whitman wrote, "I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” 

This I Believe New England: Complaining

Feb 13, 2018
Scott Indermaur

Who among us hasn't carved moments out of our lives to moan . . . and . . . groan. "If that kid of mine doesn't clean her room, I'm going to bust a gut!" "Can you believe the prices on this menu?" "What in heaven's name do I need to do to lose some weight?"  Complaining seems to be part of the human condition, what happens between inhaling and exhaling. 

Scott Indermaur

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? 

This I Believe New England: David's Inferno

Jan 30, 2018
Scott Indermaur

Have you ever encountered moments in life when you weren't sure you had the wherewithal to climb out of bed and face another day?  Moments when you saw no light whatsoever at the end of your tunnel, when you wanted to, well, just give up? 

This I Believe New England: Winter

Jan 23, 2018
Scott Indermaur

Here we are, right smack in the heart of another New England winter. For some, this stretch of months with early sunsets is filled with dread -- frosty temperatures, snow piles to shovel, and ice patches to dodge. But for others of us, this wintry mix is the stuff of pure delight. 

This I Believe New England: Happy Seniors

Jan 16, 2018
Scott Indermaur

Growing older can be complicated.  Some manage to ease into new chapters in their lives with grace and equanimity. Others struggle, perhaps because of ill health, daunting financial challenges, or, perhaps, for more existential reasons having to do with the mysteries and anxieties of mortality.

Scott Indermaur

Many of us have known friends and loved ones whose minds and mental faculties have slipped away as some form of dementia has tightened its unrelenting grip. We know the challenging signs: confusion about time and place, memory lapses, language difficulties, mood changes, isolation.  No doubt, this is a painful process for nearly everyone caught in its midst.  But some of us also find precious, even bright moments as we travel this complicated journey.  Anne Mulhall has found just that and shares the lessons she's learned from her deeply personal odyssey. 

 

Scott Indermaur

Many of us can recall a time when we found ourselves pretty much alone in the world – perhaps after having moved to a new city with neither family nor friends, or to a new country with brand new sights, disorienting customs, and unfamiliar language.  These sorts of beginnings can be filled with a complicated mix of excitement, nagging anxiety, alluring challenge, and profound loneliness.  Over time, we hope, we find our way, forge a path, and nestle in.

This I Believe New England: Miracles

Dec 26, 2017
Scott Indermaur

The nineteenth century novelist Joseph Conrad once wrote, “My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see.”  And that is exactly what this Rhode Island Public Radio series aims to do.  Featured essayists stitch together words that let you peek inside their core beliefs, their struggles to understand their world, their insights about what matters most in life.  Sometimes these words are expressed in prose, sometimes in poetry.

This I Believe New England: Still Me

Dec 19, 2017
Scott Indermaur

It's a truism, isn't it, that every life has its challenges – some big, some small, and the rest in between. Under the best of circumstances, we bump into manageable nuisances that fall far short of life-altering crises – say, coping with a flat tire, forgetting a doctor's appointment, or misplacing our car keys.  But, some of us will encounter truly catastrophic circumstances that turn our lives upside down, stop us in our tracks, take our breath away.  The sudden death of a loved one.  Coming home to a house that burned down.  The horrific car accident. 

This I Believe New England: Seeing Clearly

Dec 12, 2017
Scott Indermaur

Most of us have discovered that we can be blindsided by life's unpredictable, sometimes unbidden events: the doctor's diagnosis we weren't expecting, or perhaps the stinging message from a spouse or partner letting us know the relationship is over.  You know the type of news – the kind no one wants to hear.  Yet, sometimes horrific news seems to offer us a meaningful wake-up call, a chance to sort out priorities and put things in perspective.

Scott Indermaur

Sometimes, too often perhaps, it seems impossible to absorb the steady diet of toxic news stories and headlines: mass shootings, deadly hurricanes, horrific droughts, massive wildfires, out-of-control pandemics, and hundred-year floods.  For some of us, it may be tempting to keep the news at bay and retreat into our respective cocoons, out of harm's way – or so we would like to believe.  But don't all of us yearn to keep hope alive somehow, even in the face of what may seem to be daunting odds?

This I Believe New England: Hope

Nov 28, 2017
Scott Indermaur

Hope.  It's what keeps us going when storm clouds move into our lives, in those darkest moments when there seems to be no glimmer of light.  Hope.  The poet Emily Dickinson said, "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul -- and sings the tune without the words -- and never stops at all."  That's the resounding message we hear from Samantha Andersen.

 

Scott Indermaur

Life is full of contradictions and inconsistencies, often 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.  Beth Taylor reflects on distressingly ambiguous matters of war and peace.

Scott Indermaur

Years ago famed sociologist Erving Goffman wrote about a concept he dubbed "impression management." Goffman's thesis was rather simple, yet quite elegant: People have a tendency to manage the impressions others have of them. Sometimes our efforts are designed to convince other people to like us, hire us, vote for us, marry us, or maybe buy something from us.  The motives we have to manage the way people see us are as varied as the myriad life goals we carry around – some noble and, well, some not.

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