this I believe

This I Believe Rhode Island: Against Racism

Apr 11, 2017

It's no secret that all manner of recent news headlines, Twitter messages, and social media video posts have been filled with disquieting, often harsh and vicious epithets, rants, and screeds that have ethnic racial, religious, and gender targets.  

What a remarkable privilege it is when others allow us to enter the most difficult moments of their lives – those moments of anguish for which there are few, if any, words; those moments that seem unending and, sometimes, end badly.  When it happens, thank goodness there are people who care – really care – and do their very best to comfort those who suffer. Rumi, the thirteenth-century Persian Sunni poet, put it so beautifully: "Grief can be the garden of compassion."  And as we hear from Steve Ryan, it's yet another privilege to bear witness to such remarkable caring.    
 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Seasons

Mar 28, 2017

No doubt you have noticed how our lives ebb and flow, much like the seasons.  Both literally and figuratively we get to experience the wonder of stunningly beautiful spring days and the bitter assault delivered by the occasional winter blizzard.  Such is life.  Indeed, seasons seem to be able to teach us so much about coping with life's inevitable ups and downs, including its bittersweet moments.

Human relationships begin in so many ways, some remarkably unpredictable.  There's the chance encounter with another art museum patron.  The blind date arranged by your sister.  Or the knowing glance exchanged with a stranger standing across the room at a dinner party.  Some of those connections are fleeting; some morph into lasting relationships.

Have you noticed how easy it is to take for granted the profound impact of the simplest things in our lives that someone, somewhere invented?  

This I Believe Rhode Island: Stories

Mar 7, 2017

Every one of us has a story - make that lots of stories - that define who we are. There are those life-altering events during childhood, perhaps our first love or our first heartbreak, or the stories that come out of our adult lives that are so very complex. Some of us are eager to share our stories with anyone who will listen, but as Bill Harley reflects in this encore essay, others of us are much more quiet about the stories that shape our lives.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Education

Mar 1, 2017

All of us know in an abstract sort of way what a difference education makes.  Education fills our heads with wonderfully inspiring ideas.  Education prepares us for vocations and avocations.  Education is the ticket to freedom, and so much more.  John Dewey, noted philosopher and educational reformer, had this to say: "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."  Seasoned educator Kyleen Carpenter has seen impressive evidence of this up close and personal.
 

The most fortunate among us manage to find a truly good friend or two early in life who stick with us for decades, through all the inevitable thick and thin moments.  These are the friends we can call at 2:00 in the morning if need be, the friends whose sentences we can finish, the friends whose arms provide solace during difficult times, and whose tears of joy during the sweetest times of our lives make them that much sweeter.  Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."  As we hear from Maureen Nagle, these are the friends we need to be with when it matters most. 

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.

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