If you just believe

BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

That’s the thing about going to Barnes & Noble: I won’t be able to get out of the store without buying a thing. I mean, I’m just so addicted to the idea of shopping at Barnes & Noble that sometimes I feel the store has been designed for one thing, and one thing only: to conquer my willpower. At all times. I’ve never won this fight since my first visit. And if you ask me, seriously, I don’t want to win this kind of fight.

Barnes & Noble is the kind of bookstore that can be defined as my proverbial “candy store.” Rightfully, I am a kid. But not too rightfully, I want to taste everything. Whatever the case, I am just as happy as can be whenever I am at any of the Barnes & Noble stores. I just lose myself all around. Surrounded with rows and rows and mountains and mountains of books, and all other neat stuff, I forget the time. I can spend hours and hours just looking around, and I would be the happiest person on earth.

And so, despite my resolve not to buy anything, I know that I will somehow end up buying something. I am confident that Barnes & Noble has something that I want to own.

Gritting my teeth and crossing my arms across my chest, I begin my rounds–a systematic ocular inspection of the goods. I survey the lay of the land. Nothing escapes my notice. I’ve somehow mastered the art of shopping at a bookstore–from looking at the book covers and spines to checking out all sorts of fancy merchandise on display.

And that’s when I saw it!

The moment I spotted it, I know, deep down, that I’ve been defeated. Once again, Barnes & Noble has won. Once again, I know I will not be able to leave the store empty-handed.

What I saw was a bookmark.

Now, you have to understand that I’ve never been particularly interested in buying bookmarks. I don’t usually spend money on these things. While I’ve seen a few bookmark designs that has caught my fancy, I’ve never been tempted to buy them. If I need a bookmark, I’ll just make them myself, or, use whatever flat object that’s within reach as a bookmark. And then, that’s the end of it.

But not this bookmark that I saw.

This bookmark was different.

This bookmark was made out of metal. Not card stock, not wood, not anything, but metal. It’s a thin flat metal formed into a word.

Believe.

Yes, that’s the word on the bookmark. Believe. That’s when I know that I will just have to have this bookmark. I need to buy it.

“Believe” is a special word to me. It’s an inspiring word that has guided me through the years. And now, I have that word as a bookmark to serve as a constant reminder to keep believing.

Each one of us believe in all sorts of things. For sure, there are a set of things that you believe in or not, and what you believe in or not may not be the same things that other people believe in or not as well. This belief system is yours and yours alone. It is almost unique to you. It is based on, and develops out of, a combination of unique experiences, background, knowledge, and other such factors. It is what makes up for who you are as a person. Beliefs are principles that anchor you as a human being. It makes you more than just a uni-dimensional physical being. You become you because of the things that you believe in, and from out of that, a person striving to become.

A simple, common word. And yet, it is powerful.

All my life, I’ve been on a first-name basis with the word “believe.” But it doesn’t mean, the word “believe” is on a first-name basis with me. And it made a whole world of difference.

Along the way, as I searched for the true meaning of my life, and as I try to fulfill my life’s destiny, I began my slow, convoluted, and even painful face-to-face understanding and appreciation of the word “believe.”

This became so much more obvious, and it became the focus, of my life as I was trying to achieve personal growth. Despite the many achievements I’ve earned through the years, I was beset with fear, self-doubt, and insecurity. These were the words stopping me from taking the necessary and important steps to grow out of my comfortable shell, and face a new set of challenges.

It took a friend to reintroduce me, and to define for me, the true meaning of the word “believe.” My friend said, reiterating the obvious point that I was too blind to see, that if I want to truly achieve great things in my life, I have to “believe.”

He would hammer me with the word “believe” each and every single time we see each other, and at all times we have the opportunity to be together.

To make sure that the lesson and the point that he was trying to drive in hits me, he even gave me a song. And guess what the title of this song is? That’s right. It’s “believe.”

Now, you have to remember that the person, this friend of mine, who doggedly oriented me to the word “believe” is himself a product of that word. My friend’s life experience is an example of that word. Whenever there is something that he wants to work on, and whenever there is something he wants to achieve, he would go full steam ahead. He will single-mindedly work on it as if there is no way he will fail. That that is pretty much the story of his life–he dodged failure so many times that you can’t help but believe.

Pretty much everyone I know takes this friend of mine seriously. It isn’t surprising that everyone believes in him. He has become a hive unto himself, creating somewhat of an ecosystem built upon the word “believe.”

And so, I step out of my old self, and believe. There’s not much else to do, is there?

So, when I saw the word “believe” at Barnes & Noble in the form of a bookmark, how could I have possibly resisted it?

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