I Believe in a Better Tomorrow

How wonderful life is.

Life is seriously complex. From the intrinsic nature of organic life to the scientific blend of an atmosphere, life all around us is complex. But it doesn’t have to be. Is there really any benefit to such a thing? It can be simple. A simple life with simple beliefs.

I believe those who want to will find a way. Those who don’t will find an excuse. How bad do you desire something? How far are you willing to go to get it? And what if you can’t? I bet you have a reason why. And that’s natural, it can be applied everywhere.

While of course there will always be exigent circumstances, this is sufficient for the general majority of life. I don’t intend to be witty, or profound, or even knowledgeable. Today, I believe I found a way to express this concept.

Tomorrow, I believe I’ll find a way to get through that day as well. It may be easy or it may be hard. It may be enriching, it may be agonizing. I don’t know. There’s a lot I don’t know. But if there is something I want to know…I’m pretty sure there’s a way to find out.

And maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all that’s really needed. Just a simple belief in knowing that you don’t know. But I do know that I’ll find a way, long before I ever find an excuse.

Today may have been a bad day. May have been a good day. Maybe even a great day. But the days don’t last forever. Nor do they have memories. Which is why it is important to live for and believe in… a better tomorrow.

-Author’s name withheld

I Believe in Failure, by Rev. Robyn Bles

I believe in failure.  As a self-avowed perfectionist I have come to accept failure as a lifelong companion and teacher.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I hate failure.  Always lurking around the corner, failure was the long time the frenemy who I dreaded showing up to sabotage my big plans.  My first real experiences of failure happened right on TCU’s campus.  Breezing through high school I showed up to my freshman year thinking my usual good attendance and class participation were adequate tools for the academic rigors of college coursework.  While C’s and D’s are not technically failing, I’m sure most TCU students would agree with me that these sorts of grades were not the level of success I was accustomed to.  That first year of academic embarrassment made me check my arrogance at the door and grace the walls of the library, finally developing those much needed study skills.  Thankfully, my friend failure taught me the appreciation of hard work and the value of a truly earned A.  Though I only achieved one A on a paper in the Religion Department’s God in Modern Thought, taught by Dr. Grant, that A is still one of my greatest academic achievements.

Failure was not only my hardcore academic teacher, but also saw me through the heart-bruising affects of dissolving friendships and breakups.  Those four years at TCU were some of the happiest and most difficult years of my life.  Who knew that failing so often and with such humiliating flair would actually be good for you?  I certainly didn’t think that was part of the process, and when it happened I sure wasn’t capable of asking for help – failure wasn’t part of the achievement plan … right?

I can’t say exactly what caused me to change my perspective; perhaps it was finally being too tired of hiding my failures behind a perfectionist shroud, finding a good counselor, or just really beginning to embrace these moments as part of my life.  When I thought my life was all about avoiding failure I couldn’t fully face what was behind those moments; but when I started to accept them I began to see failure everywhere.  Not only in my life, but in everyone’s!  From the very beginning we start out falling down, again, again, and again, until we’re finally capable of taking that first independent step.  It’s through a series of failures that we finally grow, learn, and develop compassion for others and ourselves as we all struggle in the process of becoming.

Though I was fortunate enough to experience my first devastating failure at a point when I had a little maturity and life experience, this past year my daughter experienced failure at a much too young age.  At 3 days old my healthy baby suffered a heart attack and stroke due to a series of failed surgical safety precautions.  Through no fault of her own, failure has dramatically changed the course of her life.  My husband and I are providing all the therapeutic and medical assistance she needs to recover, but as her mother, one of the greatest ways I can help my daughter is to teach her that failure is not the enemy.

Almost every day I still wish this hadn’t happened to her and our family, but I also remind myself that not only do we fail many times in our lives, but the failure of others also affects us.  What is important to remember, however, is that these failures do not define who we are.   The sum of all our failures is not the value of who we are, but rather, how we respond to these failures shapes the people we become.  I still can’t say I like failure, and there are times that I downright hate it.  But I also know that while my daughter has a long road ahead of her, at 8 months old her strength and tenacity have already proven stronger than any failure.  We are years away from knowing the full extent of her recovery and I worry about how her peers will perceive her difference, but the results of this failure remind me many good things are still to come.  The people that surround her and our family have shown me that rather than hiding, sharing our failures allows authentic community and support to come alive.  Her story and courage have quite literally created a global community of prayer, support, and celebration of her many mighty accomplishments.  Her whole life might have changed on that day because of failures, but that does not mean she will fail at living a full and rich life.  We might be connected to one another through our failures, but we’re also interconnected in our shared growth and discovery because of these moments.  I believe the ways we hold one another in these fragile moments makes us better people and a better community.  I hope you’ll fail boldly and compassionately.

……………………………..

GA TIB BOOK Robyn BlesRev. Robyn Bles was a TCU student from 1999-2003 and no matter where she has lived remains a Horned Frog fan. She currently lives in Des Moines Iowa with her husband Jordan, daughter Milly, and extremely friendly golden retriever Stella.  She gratefully serves with the fabulous people of West Des Moines Christian Church.  Go Frogs!

I Believe Ice Cream has Curative Powers, by Rev. Justin Floyd

What do I believe? I believe that is a hard question. To sum up the fullness of ones beliefs into 300 words is a daunting task. As I process this prompt I am drawn to the idea of thinking that its a personal creed statement and that rubs me the wrong way seeing as how I am part of a denomination that does not use creeds. Instead, I try to think of it as a mission statement or a visioning exercise. What would I need to believe in order to make the world the best possible place? What do I need to believe in to make my life and the lives of my family successful?

I believe that the world is inherently good. I believe that God loves us and works in the world to make it good. I believe that humanity has taken its foolishness to historical high levels in recent years and that keeps the world exciting albeit frustrating and depressing. I believe that the smile of a baby and the hug from a child can change your day instantly. I believe, through years of youth ministry research, that  ice cream has curative powers and that frozen yogurt must have been present at the last supper.

Lastly, I believe this with all of my heart: If all we did devote our time, energy, money, and passion to making the world a better place, we could live in the world that Jesus spoke about. We would love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and our strength and we would truly be able to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

For me to achieve this, I believe that I need more time in prayer and less time in work. I believe that I need more music in my day and fewer e-mails. I believe I need more beach and less highway. I believe that I stand in my own way and blame others on the regular and that needs to stop now. I believe that all these things are possible through the one who gives me strength.

And because I believe in the power of throwing good vibes into the universe, I believe that TCU football will win a national championship, the Texas Rangers will eventually win a World Series and that one day the Dallas Cowboys will hold the Lombardi trophy and we will all toast to the memories. I believe it can’t hurt to put that in writing.

…….

 

GA TIB Book Justin Floyd

Rev. Justin Floyd is currently serving as the Youth Minister at First Christian Church of North Hollywood. Justin graduated from TCU in 2010 with a degree in Religion and Sociology. While at TCU, Justin served as president of the Disciples on Campus program. He stands behind his statement that TCU will win a football national championship and he will be in the stands to watch it.

I Believe in the Power of One

Author: Linda Milburn, TCU Student, Fall 2014

I believe in the power of one. The power of one can make a difference. More specifically, I believe in the power of my canine companion, Tatum. When my daughter was in college, she rescued Tatum from a shelter. Eventually, she realized Tatum was happier in the country than in an apartment, and decided it was best to leave her with my husband and me. I started taking Tatum to the park in town to walk and I realized that people were drawn to her. They would comment on how it appeared that she was smiling and that her tail was always wagging and welcoming. I began taking her to a park in Fort Worth where I was doing homeless outreach and I witnessed something magical. People migrated to her, both young and old. She allowed for walls to come down and it enabled me to start building relationships with the homeless residents that had not before been approachable. Part of Tatum’s charm is that she is ball motivated. She decides who needs to interact with her, even if they do not always welcome it in the beginning. She continues bringing the ball to them until she gets a shrug and a smile, and eventually, the toss of a ball. I watch in amazement at her gentleness with children, even with chaos surrounding her. I watch the hugs and the rubs she receives as she is giving her welcomed kisses. To some of these people, she is the only physical touch that they may have or the only unconditional love that they get to feel, even if only for a moment. I witness the smiles that she brings to the eyes of the suffering and lost. Over the last several years, Tatum has touched many lives and has created her own little ministry. While she has been able to make a difference in many people’s lives, she has had the biggest impact on mine. As a result of our homeless outreach, I decided I wanted to take it further. Tatum and I became a registered therapy team through Pet Partners, an international nonprofit organization. We also became a registered Reading Education Assistance Dog team and have participated in children’s reading programs. Additionally, Tatum and I have had the opportunity to participate in crisis response and group therapy for substance abuse. I credit her and her spirit with influencing me to go back to school. I have since received an associate’s degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling. I am now working towards a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, with plans of pursuing a master’s degree.

Tatum has a gift. She has touched so many lives, but she has given me the courage to empower myself with the knowledge to help others. This special four-legged friend exemplifies that just one can make a difference in someone’s life.

I believe in my Uncle Tommy

Author: Katie Rhatigan, TCU Student, Nursing major, Published fall 2012

I believe in my Uncle Tommy. Last year he was diagnosed with cancer and currently he is in remission, still living his life to the absolute fullest.

My uncle is the wild child of his family. He had the long hair, tattoos, and earrings, is extremely tall, and has the sense of humor that would have you laughing within a minute of meeting him. He has the built of a lion and the heart of an angel. He is a carpenter and has a passion for building anything he can. This man is so much more than just my uncle and role model, he is also my godfather.

Growing up, I was not fortunate to see him often because he was engulfed with his work and lived a couple hours away. That never impacted our relationship though. I would talk to him on the phone and his positive attitude would always leave me feeling happy and optimistic. Whenever I did see him, I would receive the biggest hug of my life and I would never want to leave. His stories from his childhood were always the greatest, like when he would tell me about his car and how it was the coolest one on the block because it had a huge engine and the ladies loved his GTO. I used to listen to stories about him driving it and I could see him reliving his experiences. He is satisfied with life and lives each day to the fullest.

After he was diagnosed with cancer, it was like nothing had changed. Work was still part of his everyday life and he carried on as usual. He had the overwhelming love and moral support from his family to help him get through it all. I am not going to say that there were no hard or low points during his treatment process but I will say that he rarely showed them. Through this whole experience, he has been able to reconnect with the family more and even some friends from his past. My uncle can do whatever he sets his mind to do. When he first started Kung Fu, he did not stop until he got his black belt and when he decided he wanted to learn the guitar, he mastered it. This determination is what allowed him to beat the cancer. Ultimately, he stuck to his daily routine, kept a smile on his face, and kept doing the things that he loved.

Through my Uncle Tommy, I have learned to be unselfish and cherish each moment I have because at any time, my life can change. When I am having a bad day, I think about him and how even through it all, he still will walk around making other people happy. He inspires me to live each day like it’s my last, to do what I want to do, to do what makes me happy.
There will be challenges in life but nothing that I cannot get through. I believe that through perseverance, love, and hope, I can do anything with a smile on my face.