Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Nature of Belief

The other afternoon at my neighborhood’s pool, I watched a friend’s daughter twisting and turning underwater with her legs seemingly welded together. When Micayla surfaced I shouted to her, "Whatcha doin?!?" She smiled coyly and answered, "I’m a mermaid, Ms. Meghan. See my tail?" and promptly threw her upper body back into the water flicking her conjoined feet to the surface. She played like this for well over an hour. All alone in the deep end, lost in her own thoughts. When Rebecca pulled her from the water, Micayla kept her legs together and waddled precariously to her deck chair beside my own. "Ah, I see you’re still a mermaid." She grinned slyly and said, "Well, yeah. You don’t stop being a mermaid. You’re born like that." Looking in her eyes, you could almost see her belief in that statement.

It made me wonder when we lose the ability to become lost in a belief such as that. I can remember laying in the grass for hours, seeing the clouds over my head not as the foreshadowing of rain to come, but as rabbits and castles and clowns. Now, I just see clouds. When did I become so disillusioned?

The only irrational belief I still hold is the one of True Love. And part of me questions if, in time, that too will go.

When the world around us contradicts our beliefs at every turn. When every dream we held proves a failure or a failed initiative. When the love we've held from the beginning never forms in our partners eyes. It becomes harder and harder to hold hope when every corner we turn shows us that the hope is wasted.

But, every once in a while, we’re lucky enough to find a mermaid to renew our hopes and beliefs.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of that song by Joni Mitchell:

Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

Jason said...

I rather think this is one of the most beautiful, poignant things I have read in awhile.

What happened to all those dreams? When did we lose that ability to believe in anything? Is it a lack of faith or is it simply facing reality?

It's kind of sad to think about. But then, you provide a glimmer of hope at the end. Your mermaid. We could all use such a reminder.

Jon said...

That's the one thing I miss about being a kid: the mystery that comes with the suspension of disbelief.