'I Believe' was introduced by Jane Froman on her television show. Troubled by the uprising of the ‘Korean War’ in 1952 so soon after ‘World War 11’, the song was commissioned when the composers were asked to write a song that would offer hope and faith to the populace. Froman's commercial recording reached Number. 11 in the Billboard charts during a 10-week stay. ‘I Believe’ has been recorded by many others; the most notable being Frankie Laine, whose version spent eighteen non-consecutive weeks at the top of the ‘UK Singles Chart’. Frankie Laine also had the most successful version in the USA, where he reached Number 2 for three weeks.
My mother used to tell me as a child, “If you believe in nothing, Billy, you are nothing!” What we believe in, who we believe in and how one’s beliefs can work to both advantage and disadvantage are probably the greatest determinant factors in one’s life.
All my childhood was spent with mum daily telling me, ‘I love you’, ‘You are special’ and ‘Believe in yourself’. Because I have always known I was loved by my parents and family, I have always felt loved. There has never been one moment in my life when I felt unloved. Hence; these feelings have acted as a springboard for me to always love myself, which in turn, has made it so much easier for me to love others. And while I was brought up believing myself to have been born a ‘special person’, I long ago realised that everyone born is a ‘special person’.
Because of my life and work experiences, my own ‘belief system’ has played a major part in how happy, healthy and hopeful I have been at any stage of my 76 years so far. It has also determined on more than one occasion whether I would pull through one operation or another; whether I would live or die.
It enabled me to walk again after a horrific traffic accident at the age of 11 years that severely damaged my spine and left me unable to walk for three years while being told by the medics that I would never walk again. It has helped me stay alive since I contracted a terminal blood cancer in early 2013 that had an expectancy life-span average of three years after diagnosis, and which left me with no effective immune system with which to fight off any illness or infection.
Since I was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer in 2013, I have contracted cancer in my nose, cancer in my forehead and cancer in my bottom, plus a life-threatening Lymphoma that left me on the cusp of death in January 2017. Since 2013, I have had two courses of chemotherapy and am currently waiting for courses of radiotherapy for a recent head cancer. I have also had four full operations of a life-threatening order and numerous treatments for a cancer condition. Between March 2013 and March 2018, I had monthly blood transfusions (lasting six hours a time). I also spent nine months of each year either hospitalised, confined to my bed ill or confined to the house. Despite having dealt with for four different cancers in different parts of my body over the past year, I have for a large part been able to get out when I want, so long as I don’t mix with too many contagious humans. The past four months have witnessed me receive an operation under a full anaesthetic on four occasions; something that carries an exceptionally high risk for me with my heart condition.
Since I met Sheila, fell in love with her and married her, despite all my cancer experiences, I can honestly say that these past nine years have been the happiest years of my life. Being at one with my partner, physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually has buttressed all my beliefs into a big ball of love and truth ‘that works for me’.
We are not born with our belief systems; we chose to adopt them, which we reinforce through the interpretation of our experiences, both good and bad. The most important thing I have ever learned is ‘Whatever I choose to believe, I can also choose not to believe!’ That is why I have, for most of my life, believed that ‘there is no goodness or badness in this world that believing it so will not make it so.’ That is why we usually find what we look for in whomever or whatever we look at.
All of us go through times in our life that challenge our belief in self and others and Elaine Craven, the woman I dedicate today’s song to is no exception. In her lifetime, Elaine has witnessed more hurt, harm and emotional disturbance than most people could ever imagine, in her roles as a psychiatric nurse, mother and individual. All our beliefs are challenged at least once throughout our lives because of bad experiences we injure, and the past two decades have challenged Elaine’s beliefs to the hilt.
I only have to think upon the many children I have known die from cancers in the hospices I have visited in the past, to know the raw edge of human torment that can rip apart the heart of a loving parent who sees their little one die before their eyes. Such tragic circumstances create an inner rage about all that is wrong with the world, and it is at such times when good people, who have previously believed in the presence of God in their lives, doubt His very existence and curse Him for having allowed their child to die at such a young age or in such tragic circumstances.
Elaine has given me her permission to tell you that in 2003 and in 2018, she lost both her son and her great-granddaughter respectively. Each was killed in unrelated tragic and criminal circumstances. These traumatic experiences twice blighted her life and created a pain inside that will never ease or go away. The tragic loss of these two family members created an emotional void that can never be filled again; leaving Elaine forever tortured with the torment of thought that makes lasting peace impossible.
And yet, within this maelstrom of bloody mess and whirlpool of uncertain outcome, Elaine has managed to pick herself back up and has started the fight back for all the things she believes in; starting with the strengthening of her belief in self. Throughout this struggle that has covered two decades, Elaine has proved herself to be a worthy survivor who has never once stopped believing in herself and those she loves. God bless you Elaine and may peace one day be your eternal reward. I am proud and honoured to be your Facebook friend. I believe in you and dedicate this song to you. You are undoubtedly a woman of substance; a pillar of outspoken truth.
Love and peace. Bill xxx