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Something to Believe In

They weren't kidding about the snow around here. It just doesn't stop. I feel like it's been snowing for months. Driving to work yesterday in the car, I leaned forward whenever I was stopped at lights and I watched the flakes landing on the windshield. They were fascinating to see up close–these perfectly formed crystals, dissolving in mere moments. I had the tiniest fraction of a second in which to take them in before they became a droplet of water.

My hospice work is going well these days. It continues to be consuming and it continues to offer up days and moments that make me question myself emotionally. But this work also continues to enrich my days and my heart.

I'm continuing to question life. I don't know how it would be possible to enter these people's homes and sit down with them, to hear their stories–of life and love and family and illness–to witness the different ways in which we all approach death and, of course, life–and walk away from these experiences without pondering the bigger picture of it all.

I feel like my brow has been furrowed a lot lately. I feel like I'm constantly chewing on one idea or another, trying to get to the crux of the thing–and I feel like I'm really circling something, digging deeper and deeper, carving out some understanding of the world for myself.

I spend a lot of time in the car these days, in Greg's little green, snow-covered Honda, listening to NPR and random mixed cds and drinking coffee from my pink Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf thermos and pondering the matter of existence. There I am, stuck in traffic on the 90, on my way to work, leaning forward to look at snow flakes on the windshield, my brow furrowed, mulling over my latest idea about why we're here.

It's almost as though I'm trying to solve a riddle. And I feel like I'm getting closer. There are so many components to solve before I can get to the real heart of it all though.

I think that to do this work, to really do this work and to do it well, I have to get clear on my beliefs.

And that requires a lot of pondering. A lot of brow furrowing.

I'm thinking a lot about illness and disease right now, about what causes us to become ill and also about what heals us. I'm thinking about life and why were are here on this earth, going about our days, reproducing and striving for things we're not even sure we want. I'm thinking about death and what happens after we die. I'm thinking about God and all that idea encompasses.

I've been reading a lot of books on spirituality and health and meditation and love and death. Some of the ideas I come across don't fit with what I think I believe. Some add to my growing personal philosophies, some scare me and some soothe me.

All I know is that I'm on a path right now. A path of searching for something to believe in. I don't think it's a path I'll ever come to the end of but I feel as though I'm just beginning to walk it, and the farther I go, the better work I'll be able to do.

For the most part it really feels like a solitary path, and one that I'll almost always walk alone. I think we all have to take our own journeys in an effort to establish our personal belief system. But sometimes I wish I could talk all of this over with someone.

I realize that I've been flailing so much lately because I don't have any firm beliefs about this life. And now that I'm beginning to question and develop a set of beliefs, I have places in which I can put all these experiences, these moments and relationships.

In Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Carl Jung comments on the multiple stages of development from infancy through adolescence which have been explored by so many writers. Jung, himself, writes about the developmental stages of adulthood, believing that an exploration of spirituality and higher self is a natural stage in this process.

I really believe that's where I am right now–entering into this stage of my life–and I feel that as I move through this work, I'll move more smoothly into the rest of my life, that all the things I feel confused about will begin to unravel. The books I want to write, the places I want to travel, the people I want to help, all of these things will become attainable.

But for now, there is a cup of coffee warm at hand and snow flakes drifting down outside the window.


  1. That was really beautiful Claire. I love this entry. I’d love a book list…

    Comment by Bryce on February 1, 2008 at 9:41 am

  2. Hi Claire,
    That is an aweful lot of deep thinking you’re into. I’ll save you a lot of heavy lifting.
    The answer is 42.
    Now relax and get on with your life and just live it.
    Cheers, Paul

    Comment by Paul on February 1, 2008 at 11:21 pm

  3. Thanks, Paul & Bryce!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on February 6, 2008 at 4:58 pm

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