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The difference in believing and doing

Go out of your way for something you believe in. Do it at least once in your life. That may sound strange. But the difference in believing in something and liking the idea of it is the willingness to go out of your way for it.

When disaster struck New Orleans or Tuscaloosa or Japan or anywhere else for that matter, did you genuinely believe strongly in the relief efforts or did you just like the idea of them? The answer lies in whether or not you were moved enough to assist with either the donation of time, money or personal items.

At the very least, did you say a prayer for the efforts or the people involved?

At the risk of sounding like a lecture, I encourage you to believe in something strongly, believe in it strongly enough to go out of your way on its behalf.

If we are really lucky, we get about six or seven decades on this planet.

The better part of two of them are spent developing our tastes and shaping our philosophies as children. That leaves us about five of them to find some way to make a difference in some capacity.

My belief will take me on a mission trip to Jamaica for the second consecutive summer. We will walk the hills of the countryside, meet people and attempt to cater to their spiritual and, sometimes, physical needs.

The trip itself and the belief that pushes me to make it are an important part of who I am.

While I am gone for the next 11 days, Jason Cannon will go out of his way to do his job and then some as he serves as a one man newspaper band for nearly two weeks. I can’t tell you much about what he believes in except that his willingness to do that means that he at least believes pretty strongly in me. Or maybe he believes in our friendship. At the very least, he believes in his current state of unwillingness to find a new reporter.

Perhaps more noteworthy than the mission trip or Jason’s personal sacrifices is the work of the Demopolis High School baseball team.

The young men who make up that squad planned a fundraiser this summer to generate support for a new press box at the high school baseball field. Then they learned that two of their teammates – brothers – have a family crisis.

Their mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

That press box they wanted was pretty quickly put on hold. Instead, the team has been pounding the pavement and selling Boston butts to raise money for their teammates’ mother.

Maybe they believe in their teammates. It could be a simple belief in doing the right thing. Either way, that belief has moved them to raise some $11,000 for their chosen cause.

Believe in something. Believe in it strongly enough that you sink something – time, money, energy – into it.

Those of us who are really lucky get six, seven, maybe eight decades on this planet. What we do with them is up to us.

But a life spent with an active belief in something surely must be more memorable and more worthy than one marred by apathy and indifference.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of the Demopolis Times.