this I believe

This I Believe Rhode Island: Time Alone

Jul 8, 2014

Years ago the famed theologian Paul Tillich wrote: “Language... has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.”  Isn’t it true that so many of us struggle with the challenging tension between the unmitigated joy of being by ourselves and the occasional agony of unbidden loneliness?  We hear writer Nancy Kirsch’s thoughtful and not-so-solitary reflections on this very complex subject.
 

    

Nancy Kirsch has worked as a lobbyist, corporate lawyer and, most recently, as editor of The Jewish Voice, the newspaper of record for Rhode Island’s Jewish community. An award-winning writer, she is now engaged in freelance work. Kirsch lives in Providence.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Being Sure

Jul 1, 2014

It seems almost trite and hackneyed to say that we human beings thrive on trust, on being able to connect with others in a way that feels truly safe.  But as we make our way through life’s complicated journey – flourishing here and stumbling there – it really does seem that being able to trust the people who are central in our lives is essential.  The 19th century Russian author Anton Chekhov put it so well: “You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.”  And that’s what we hear from Matthew Eriksen.

Matthew Eriksen is a Professor of Management, Faculty Director of the Leadership Fellows Program, and Coordinator of the Leadership Development major in the School of Continuing Education at Providence College. He also engages in life, leadership and team coaching.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Letting Your Soul Fly

Jun 24, 2014

For many of us, music is central to our lives, whether it’s in the form of casual listening on our MP3 players, as spectators at symphony concerts and the opera, or as passionate performers.  Shakespeare’s Duke Orsino put it one way in Twelfth Night, “If music be the food of love, play on.”  For others of us, music has been our salvation, a remarkable source of comfort and confidence, as we hear from thirteen-year-old .

Lauren Durkin is a seventh grader at The Wheeler School in Providence. Her love of music and theater has led her to performances at local theaters such as Trinity Repertory and the Gamm Theatre.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Empathy

Jun 17, 2014

Sometimes in life we learn remarkably important lessons from unlikely sources.  Perhaps a passing comment from a taxicab driver that resonates in profound ways.  An eye-opening anecdote shared by the stranger in the adjacent airplane seat.  Or the spur-of-the-moment comment made by the new neighbor who’s out walking her dog as we’re weeding the garden.  Isn’t it wonderful how these surprise moments in our lives have the capacity to teach us true life lessons?  And that’s what happened to Jill Pfitzenmayer.

 

Jill Pfitzenmayer is vice president for the Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence at the Rhode Island Foundation. A licensed psychologist, she also works with adults in private practice.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Graduation

Jun 10, 2014

Tell the truth.  How many of you can recall the names of your graduation or commencement speakers?  Most likely, many of us just came up empty.  Perhaps graduates let their minds drift during these all-too-predictable speeches.  Or they reflect on precious memories that are bound to fade, or fantasize about our uncertain futures.  How many of us really focused on the graduation speaker’s skillfully crafted words?  Well, graduation season is fast approaching.  Listen very carefully to a very unusual graduation speech imagined by Sarah Morenon.

Sarah Morenon went to the University of Rhode Island at age 40 to get a library masters degree to become a school librarian. She lives in Providence with her husband and has three grown children.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Father's Love

Jun 3, 2014

Is it really possible to say something about love that hasn’t already been said?  Our lives have been saturated with thousands of love poems, love stories, and love scripts played out on stage and screen.  Yet every once in awhile we hear a fresh take on the subject, as in this well-timed essay by Kelly Vail, whose words anticipate the Father’s Day that’s just around the corner.

Kelly Vail grew up in Franklin, Massachusetts and is a senior majoring in management at Providence College.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Becoming a Teenager

May 27, 2014

Ah, the joys of growing up.  Looming independence.  Escaping the clutches of parental supervision.  Pursuing one’s dreams, no matter how fanciful.  And then, of course, reality manages to rear its head.  As the playwright Tom Stoppard said, “Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.”  But the wisest among us learn that even the dashed dreams of our lives as they unfold offer opportunities for wisdom, as we hear from a remarkably insightful 13-year-old, Jacob Wassouf.

Jacob Wassouf is a seventh grade student at the Gordon School in East Providence.  Jacob lives with his family in Bristol and reports that he recently completed his very first novel.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Stories

May 20, 2014

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.

 

Bill Harley is a two-time Grammy award-winning artist who uses song and story to paint a vibrant picture of growing up, schooling, and family life. A longtime commentator for NPR's news program "All Things Considered" and recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Bill tours nationwide as an author, performing artist and keynote, speaker.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Violent Toys and Culture

May 13, 2014

All of us lament the violence that seems to saturate so many corners of our international and more personal worlds. Bullet exchanges in the Middle East, Central Asia, the south side of Chicago, and the south side of Providence. Sniper attacks.  School shootings. Stabbings that spring out of domestic violence.  And now cyber-bullying that, sadly, has led to a stunning number of adolescent suicides.  We know we want this madness to stop, and we want to know how it starts in the first place.  Dr. Joanna Brown has seen the fallout of violence up close, and has compelling thoughts about where some of it begins.

Joanna Brown is medical director at the Rhode Island Training School and also leads primary care innovation efforts out of the Brown University Family Medicine Department.  She lives in Providence with her spouse, Rebecca, and their two sons.

We’ve all heard and seen too many news stories about international horror: executions of political activists in China; imprisonment of visiting journalists in Sri Lanka and Pakistan; detention of dissenters in Myanmar and North Korea.  Torture and mind-numbing oppression are all too common throughout the globe.   For most of us, these are horrific news stories about true strangers; but for others of us, these gripping tales are deeply personal and hit much too close to home, as with Omar Bah.

Omar Bah is a Gambian journalist who was tortured and declared ‘wanted’ for writing about corruption and injustice in Gambia. He is the author of the book, Africa’s Hell on Earth.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Say When

Apr 29, 2014

All of us experience painful losses during the course of our lives.  The beloved family pet who dies after years of comforting companionship.  The dreadful breakup of a decades-long marriage.  The inevitable, but nonetheless agonizing, death of a nurturing parent.  At times these losses seem overwhelming and nearly impossible to bear.  Yet sometimes profound loss opens windows to new and remarkable insights and appreciations.  And that's what we hear from Bev Wright.

Bev Mondillo Wright  dedicated her life’s work to promoting public health.  After leaving her career recently, Wright now pursues her many passions – writing, above all.  She lives in Providence with her husband Steve.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Second Chances

Apr 22, 2014

All of us have had one of those really bad days during the course of our lives -- the kind of day that turns into a genuine nightmare, the kind of day that haunts us until our last breath, the kind of day we'd like to erase from our lives if only it were possible.  If we're fortunate, we figure out a way to move on, and if we're really fortunate, we manage to turn tragedy into a rich collection of compelling lessons that last a lifetime.  And that's what happened with Miguel Rosario, who shares his beliefs in this encore broadcast.

 

Miguel Rosario spent his earliest years growing up in the Caribbean and Providence. His passion for photography started in 2009, when he began documenting life in his ancestral Dominican town of Moncion. Rosario continues to pursue his commercial and art photography projects, especially at AS220, a non-profit home for the arts in Rhode Island that offers residential and work studios, galleries, and performance and educational spaces.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Holocaust Remembrance

Apr 15, 2014

Holocaust.  For most of us this haunting word conjures up ghastly and painful images of concentration camp inmates, train cars filled with passengers bound for extermination, and tales of torture that defy comprehension.  The Holocaust gave new meaning to man’s capacity for cruelty.  And yet, somehow, the Holocaust has also managed to teach us so much about the possibility of stunning courage, resilience, and hope in the face of true horror.  And that’s what we hear from Rabbi Wayne Franklin.

Rabbi Wayne Franklin has been the Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El  in Providence since 1981.  Since 1984 he has chaired the committee which organizes the Rhode Island Interfaith Commemoration of Holocaust and Heroes Remembrance Day. This year the event will be held on April 27th at 3:00 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El.  Jewish and Christian choirs, along with the Sophia Academy chorus and the Gay Men's Chorus of Rhode Island, will participate in the program, joining together to demonstrate the freedom and multi-cultural cooperation that we celebrate here in America, but which was forbidden in Nazi Germany.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Momentos

Apr 8, 2014

Family mementos and memories.  For many of us they’re vitally important – and full of vitality, keeping loved ones near to our hearts, especially once they’re no longer with us.  Precious trinkets, heirlooms, one-of-a-kind photographs, this is the stuff that binds us to the people we care about. The novelist Saul Bellow once wrote, “Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”  And as we hear from Reed Caster, profound connections are sometimes forged from the most modest inheritances. 

A lifelong Rhode Islander, Reed Caster was the third generation to run the family business – Caster’s Bicycles. He’s the devoted husband of his wife Mindy and the proud father of his two children, Ruby and West.

This I Believe Rhode Island: The Power of Poetry

Apr 1, 2014

Who doesn't love a good story?  We begin hearing stories when we're tiny children and then develop our own. Sometimes joyful. Sometimes painful.  For most of us, there's a rich and compelling mix. As the poet and writer Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  And Nancy Jasper feels much the same.

Nancy Jasper is a clinical social worker at Child and Family, a comprehensive social service agency in Middletown, Rhode Island.  Nancy publishes chapbooks with the Rhode Island-based Origami Poems Project.

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