This Rocky Life: I Believe


I need to be honest that I really wanted to write about politics and how I believe that the weak United Nations need to come up with clear laws, consequences and the ability to follow through on world government intervention and action, when necessary. I see UN composition with proportional representation and number of seats based on the land mass and population of participating countries and if countries choose not to be involved with the UN, they would still be subject to International laws.

When humanitarian, security, chemical weapons or deeply concerning issues take place, violating International laws, the UN members would vote and based on the majority, action would be taken by UN forces, comprised of the military and law enforcement of participating UN countries. Unfortunately, since the UN is not currently seen as a body with enough respect or clout to do anything of value on the world stage; it perpetuates a vigilantism mentality around the world and creates posturing by countries with more power than others.

The UN reminds of an incompetent, weak and passive leader who means well but doesn’t get the job done. I am saddened that there are so many people suffering around the world, at the hands of other men and women, and clearly, there is not a concrete plan in place for this to be resolved. Violence, murder, fear, conflict, torture and savage behaviour is happening today, as we sit here and read our computer screen.

Since politics and government; however, always seem to polarize readers, I am going to move on to discuss the root of what I feel leads to all war, violence and upheaval in countries and communities is caused by. I actually mentioned it, in my first sentence. It is our beliefs. What we believe will lead us to make decisions, take actions, or treat others in a specific way. The problem is, how do we determine who is right when two people or two countries believe differently?

When I was in Japan, in my teens, I was billeted by a family where the woman was not allowed to eat with her family and had to remain, in another room, until everyone was finished. Then, she would be able to eat from what was left. I felt sad for her and went to sit with her, while she waited. The same woman was not allowed to go through a doorway first; she had to walk behind her husband, at all times. This situation felt abusive to me. I was so unsettled that I requested to be moved to a different family.

I believe that all citizens need to be treated equal and with respect. That family seemed to believe that women were second class citizens and not entitled to the same rights or privileges as the other family members. From an outsider looking in, I was horrified at how that woman was treated. From their perspective, it was normal. In our own community, there are families who have a scaled down version of these beliefs. Are they wrong about their beliefs or am I?

Civilized countries tend to be in agreement that rape, ownership or violence toward women and children is in not acceptable. Civilized countries; however, only allowed women to vote or allowed different races to intermingle in this last century and some churches still do not allow women to become priests. Are we any more advanced or does oppression still exist in a more acceptable way?

All people will never all believe in the exactly the same things. That is why war, violence and conflict will always be a factor in our planet. We each have a set of beliefs, based on how we were raised or information we have gathered along the way. Where though, do we draw the line and who is ultimately responsible for determining what will be allowed to be perpetuated and what will not be accepted?

That is a question that has been around since the beginning of time. Humans have managed to create conflict to the point that they are willing to kill other human beings because of a difference in religious beliefs. It is not something that is going to go away. How, though, is it possible to have entire continents of countries who manage to not kill other human begins in mass numbers and yet, other countries can slaughter tens or hundreds of thousands of people and get away with it?

What then, do we do about those countries that are doing this? Should we be doing something about it, or is it their issue to deal with? Is it our problem because we are humans or is it not our problem because they have different citizenship than we do? Clearly, it is not black and white.

All we can do, as individuals, is decide that if we have a belief, about anything, which is opposite to the belief of someone else, we are not necessarily right and they are not necessarily wrong. Maybe we can learn to be more tolerant of others. If they are harming other humans, perhaps then, they have crossed the line. It is a shady area, no matter what angle we look at it from.

To sleep at night, after such horrible things happen in other parts of the world, the main thing that comes up for me is how grateful I feel to live in a country where we are relatively safe and protected. I am grateful that the only noise outside of our window at night is the sound of fireworks or music from the neighbouring bonfire. I am grateful that we live in Canada.

Tonight, when hearing the fireworks outside, my two-year old grandson pulled off his tea towel, while eating oranges and reached for me to pick him up. ‘Scared’ he said, over and over again. I assured him that it was okay and it was just noise from fireworks and lights in the sky. Can you imagine if we lived in a country where the noise was actually from bombs or gunfire?

Although all is not perfect here, I believe that we are extremely fortunate. When unimaginable tragedy is taking place around the world, we can pray that somehow those responsible for those horrible acts of violence and terror will eventually find peace in their hearts and not continue to take their fear out on those around them. We can pray that those affected will rise up to the oppression that is claiming their lives, their freedom and the lives of their families.

Only God knows why, how or if this can ever be overcome. For now, we can step freely outside our homes, wander into the beautiful spring that is budding outside our doors, love freely, think freely, speak freely and write freely. We are blessed with so many luxuries and comforts that it would only be if we stepped into the shoes of those who are displaced and suffering that we would truly appreciate how fortunate we really are.

‘I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’ ~ Eve Merriam

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Julie Hryniewicz
Julie Hryniewicz has been an inspirational speaker, adult educator and workshop leader for over thirteen years. She is the author of ‘Whole Living’ (2009 – DVD), ‘Natural Balance: How to Energize, Heal and Simplify Your Life’ (2006 – Book) and ‘What Happened to my Tires?’ (2004 – CD). You can find Julie on Facebook at For speaking engagements, she can be reached at


  1. Hi Mark, You make some very valid points. At 17 years old, I guess I may have overreacted. In my mind, it was like staying in an establishment that I knew would not allow African Americans in. Once I found out what behaviours were taking place in the home, I didn’t want to be a part of it and didn’t want to keep myself in a position of tolerating what I felt was abusive. I did talk with the woman, in length, and she also felt oppressed but accept that this was just “the way things are”.

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

  2. Hi Julie,

    I think it is one specific belief that leads to all negative interactions. That belief being whether or not a person believes in the value and goodness of others.

    If you don’t believe in the value and goodness of ALL others there will inevitably be conflict.

    For instance, Julie, you believe in the value and goodness of your grandson, therefore you took a loving, caring, nurturing, “I am here for you”educational stance when he was screaming from fright. Someone who did not believe in his value and goodness might just have ignored his display of fear and let him continue to scream and be afraid by putting him in his room by himself so they didn’t have to hear him. Your grandson would have quickly learned and understood that that person didn’t care about him, and didn’t believe in his value and goodness because they just ignored him.

    When people know you don’t care about them they don’t want to have anything to do with you and that always leads to conflict if there is any interaction.

    Curiously, after you made an initial attempt to demonstrate your belief in the goodness and value of the Japanese woman who you sat with during meal times you ABANDONED her by asking to go with another family rather than getting to know her, and HER BELIEFS. You were intransigent in your beliefs rather than trying to understand whether or not the Japanese woman wanted to be liberated or not, or even getting to know whether or not she like her culture the way it was for whatever reason, or if she had some differences of opinion with her culture by having her spend time with YOU and hearing about your experiences of freedom and your beliefs.

    Basically you put that Japanese woman in a room by herself and ignored her by asking to leave that family. When you did that I assume she understood that you really didn’t care about HER. You cared more about YOUR IDEALS.

    In that situation you created conflict simply by not continuing to demonstrate your belief in the goodness and value of that Japanese woman no matter what she believed until your time with her family came to its predefined conclusion.

    You did not really care about HER. You wanted her to convert to your beliefs no matter what the consequences to her would be.

    In any case, I believe it is FAILED PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS that eventually lead to all forms of conflict.

    I believe that if we want to truly achieve peace on earth that we all have to endeavour to have healthy personal relationships with everyone who comes into our lives, and most especially our loved ones and our neighbours.

    Try to have good personal relationships with everyone.

    Believe in the value and goodness of everyone and give them as much love and help as you can so that they know you truly care about them.

    Getting back to the atrocities in Syria, Assad needs our help.

    We need to stop him from killing the Syrian people.

    We need to capture him ASAP so we can give him the help that he needs, or, failing that, we must stop him from killing more Syrians no matter what takes.

    Killing does not yield good personal relationships no matter what noble purpose is put forward to rationalize it.

    That will always be true.

    Thanks for this article Julie.


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