I Do Believe in Love
Author: Robert Force
Date/Studio: 2013 Synergy, Port Townsend, WA
Engineer: Neville Pearsall
Producer: Robert Force
Original Release: Did You (BSR151)
Current Release: Did You (BSR151)
I was building a playhouse for my granddaughter, Molly. Oh it was going to be a grand thing! When the next door neighbors moved out they had a two-story playhouse they'd built for their two girls, Emily and Phoebe. It was rough and narrow with kid graffiti painted all over the inside but it was too good to be torn down. It had tons of “growing up laughter” already infused into the walls. I hired a crane. It backed into place, plucked up the playhouse and set it down in my yard. Molly was two.
It had good “bones.” I'd use it as one of the corners of the new playhouse and wouldn't have to start from scratch. I spent many a happy hour the summer of 2001 cutting and fitting and having fun with the project. Oh, I knew it would be years before she could appreciate that I had scaled in the doors and windows so that from a distance it looked totally in proportion even though it was only 200 square feet.
One beautiful September morning I was putting on the drywall and listening to talk radio, a bit of a guilty pastime, listening to folks calling up to air their gripes. Then the news-- the shocking tragedy of 9/11-- Pennsylvania, the Twin Towers, the Pentagon. Like many of us that day I was literally floored. Here I was building a future, a fairy castle for Molly. Out there people had died, families were torn apart and a nation lost what little innocence we had left after the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, John Lennon.
I continued to work and listen (we don't have a TV). I was numb. Cut. Hammer. Listen. Like many of us that day I was going blindly on with what was at my hand to do. There is a Hindi meditation called, Neti Neti-- not this, not this. Neti Neti was going on in my head, a subliminal soundtrack to my wanting to disbelieve. I began saying out loud, “Not THIS-- I don't believe...,” and filling in my disbelief. That was depressing. I went up to the house to talk to Janette about what was going on. As stunned as she was, she suggested maybe I could say what I did believe in instead of what I didn't.
That's what this song is, an affirmation for me that throughout the ages of humankind there have been shining lights to illuminate the pathway to right action and selflessness. I DO believe. I tried to encompass as many Beliefs as I could put my hands on that day. I envisioned a chorus of people of every faith and every color and every race singing each one of those verses as it pertained to them, their beliefs and culture. I could hear that when the lyrics got to the words “I Believe In....” that those saying Jesus and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha and Krishna and Meher Baba and Coyote and Raven and Baha'u'llah were all blending together in a white noise that transcended what each of us individually believed and-- heard together-- became an affirmation that we all DO believe.
As for me, yes, I do believe in love and I believe many have come to teach us that simple idea. I don't sing this song at many concerts. After the Moses verse people tend squirm around a bit in their seats.
Once I was at a festival and needed a hat since I had forgotten mine. I went into a 2nd hand store. The woman in there warned me that she was a lay preacher and would talk to me about the “good news” as I shopped. I asked her if she was preaching or witnessing. She asked what was the difference. I told her that preaching was when you told somebody why it was good for them and that witnessing was about why it was good for you. We had a great conversation. I bought two hats.
The playhouse is long ago finished. It has a loft with a double bed, lights, heat, a crystal chandelier, a Lilliputian door, twin-gabled windows, minute furniture and gold stars painted on the ceiling. Well, the stars are not actually painted. It was for our precious granddaughter. We used 14-carat gold-leaf.