Belief Systems

I watched “Gran Torino” last night.  This is Clint Eastwood’s film about gangs, prejudices and education.  What we belive in, whom we believe in and why, and how we can change those belief systems is a life’s journey.  This film is a profile of hatred, misunderstanding, self-loathing and finally, love.  It’s a hard movie to watch – in my estimation.

Do you believe in yourself?  That’s the first belief system that needs to be in not only your top ten, but also your number one hit for all time.  If we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve, we linger in purgatory, or some in Hell.  We all have something worthwhile to give to our fellow human beings and ourselves.  We just need to find it, nurture it and then expand and exploit it.  Our dear parents started us on the right or wrong track and it’s our responsibility to either take it and run with it if we’re on the right track, or change direction and head north.

I’m certain that I was brought up to in an era of prejudices about African-Americans, Gays and others.  I changed that belief system, not intentionally, I don’t think, but with time and people.  My ideals changed with the energy and belief systems of more open and accepting people in Colorado than I’d known when I was on the East Coast.  I keep changing.  I also know that sometimes certain events take place in the world or in the US and I swerve that open mindedness into a road block – it’s human nature.

Give someone who’s different from you a chance.  Ask about their past and culture.  Research their belief systems like old man Walt – played with distinction by Clint Eastwood – did in “Gran Torino.”  It takes time, patience and willingness to change, but it does and will happen if you want it to.  Walt’s intense dislike for his Vietnamese neighbors takes a dramatic turn when he helps them.  It wasn’t his intention to become entwined in their lives, but it happened and they helped change his life for the better too.

What prejudices hold you back from talking to or working with people of a different race, color or nationality?  Any?  Make an effort this Holiday season to put acceptance in your stocking instead of ignorance.  This acceptance also goes for those whom you may have hurt along the way, those who may have hurt you, and those who misunderstand or were misunderstood. 

I want to make it a point to be open to my fellow humans, even those who give me an uneasy feeling while holding their sign on the corner, “Homeless Vet – or other.  Anything will help.  God Bless.”   Also to those whom I feel treated me with indifference or neglect.  My belief is that the people I know, work with and socialize with don’t intentionally hurt me; it’s my interpretation.  If the world worked perfectly the way we wanted it to, we’d all be bored; we need and seek out challenge.

Take time today to think about yourself and how you believe in yourself, your focus, goals, treatment to self and others, and how you might give to someone or multiple someones a chance that you didn’t give before.  When we give, we get so much more in return.

I won’t give away the ending of “Gran Torino,” but a 180 seems appropriate for Walt.  Why?  What took place in his heart and head to make the sacrifice?  What happened to him that took him away from his sons?  I don’t know.  But I do know that I related to some of his actions, and I applauded his service to others in the end.  Do others applaud you too?  I hope so.

Have a glorious day.


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