This blog and this website the book it supports exist in many ways because I heard a story one day. A woman who ran a school for children with special needs described learning that the reason her son was literally banging his head against walls was because he had “sensory issues.” When she explained this to him and how there were steps they could take to help him, he said, “So you mean I’m not broken?”
I loved this story so much I kept telling it to myself over and over like a song I couldn’t stop singing. Eventually I heard the words, “No one is broken.” I knew immediately this was true. I knew it was true because to merely think it was to be released of the impossible responsibility of fixing anyone, myself most definitely included. To merely think it was to see a world without enemies, these broken men and women bent on harming others for no reason other than their own broken wickedness. In thinking those four words I felt more like myself than when I didn’t think them, for to think them meant I was already and always had been correct.
Except I could not prove that no one was broken. This was no small intellectual hurdle for me to clear. Though I was a creative writer who toiled daily in the subjective realm of taste and feeling, I lived in a world that at times seemed dominated by science, law, academics, and journalism, a world where something was only true when it could be proven. Proof, I had learned, was a highly democratic and civilized means of deciding “the truth.” Gone were the days of some king naming truths from his throne; in the modern world, evidence is king, for it has no birthright, skin color, or religion.
Evidence may be king in the courtroom and laboratory, but in the human heart nothing is known without trust. I would never be able to prove that I loved anyone, and that no one was broken was merely another way of saying that love is unconditional. The more I trusted that no one was broken, the more evidence I saw that this was true. Seeing, it appeared, was not actually believing. It was just the other way around.
Nothing can be done until we first believe it is at least possible to do it. In this way, belief precedes not only accomplishment, but evidence itself. Before I receive evidence that something can be done, I must first believe I can. I stop doing something the moment I believe it is impossible to do it, and I resume doing that same thing the moment I believe in its possibility. In this way, I choose the reality in which I wish to live, because without belief nothing in life would ever begin. We would all stand around waiting for reality to tell us what we can and cannot do, while reality waited patiently for us to choose the world we wished to create.
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I am the author of Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write with Confidence, and Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. Learn more here.