Sometimes you believe something first, and then you experience it and feel the full force of your belief.
Like parents who long for a child, who fill out the reams of adoption paperwork, who wait through the long months and years, holding on to the belief that their child is also waiting for them–somewhere. Like the moment they hold that long-beloved child for the first time and think, “Oh, here you are. You belong to us. We believed first, and now we know.”
Sometimes belief is like that. And after it happens to you, you never see the same way again.
Sometimes, though, you believe something and you go searching for it.
Like, say, you’re looking for this one bowling alley in a city. Maybe it’s one of those new brews-n-bowling places, I dunno. I hate bowling. Not even delicious beers could get me to bowl. But that’s beside the point.
Anyway, you go looking for a bowling alley. You search and search, but maybe you never find it. Eventually you become exasperated. You haven’t searched everywhere, true. It’s a big city and it keeps growing as you’re searching. So it could still be out there.
But it seems like it’s either not there, or it surely can’t be worth what it’s begun to cost you–night and day, every waking hour, your whole life, basically.
But then you step back and look at what you have found.
You know your neighbors up and down the street. All of ‘em. You know the owner of that ice cream shop a few blocks away. You know that he puts out a water bowl on the sidewalk for passing dogs because he loves all dogs, but especially Goldens. You know that the new Farmer’s Market was started by two moms who want to make it easier for all families to find and afford organic produce. You know that Linda loves her job at the little mom-and-pop corner grocery and that she lived in Arizona for years before landing in Pennsylvania, which she loves because of snow. You know how the city looks on a rainy night, lights winking between raindrops. You know what the sycamores in the cemetery look like in autumn.
It turns out that you never found the bowling alley.
But you found the city. And you’re in love with it.
Sometimes belief is like that, too.
Sarina Gruver Moore teaches English literature and writing at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.