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"This I Believe," an essay by Jenny Engh

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Editors Note: During the course of her illness, Jenny wrote a short essay.

What do I believe – a very fundamental question and something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the past year and a half when I was so rudely interrupted by cancer!

Our minister at House of Hope gave a sermon on Believing - right in time for Christmas. His take on belief was this: that thinking and believing are different – so when people ask you what you believe – they may really be asking you what you are thinking. The difference? Believing, he went on to say, is much more settled – when you’ve given your heart over to something.

What a beautiful thing to say – believing is when you’ve given your heart over to something.

So what do I believe in? I believe in the goodness of people, the blessings of living life fully and being open to new possibilities. I believe in nurturing those who are struggling or may have lost their way. I believe we have all been given an opportunity to leave things better, helping others improve their lives.

I believe in fairness, treating others equally and calling out when others are treated unfairly. I also believe in the fundamental choice we all have in making our lives better and creating our own happiness. Personal responsibility, regardless of our circumstances, is not negotiable. We all have the power to make choices about our lives, perhaps not all the material goods or same opportunities we would like to have, but choices to do the right thing and to live life honestly.

I believe in loving each other, showing more kindness. So belief is a starting point, not a destination. When my friend Duane asked me what I would want him to say at my funeral, I said, “remind people to be kinder to each other.” I believe we can.

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