I Believe in Our America
by Nido Qubein
It's hard to be anywhere these days without hearing the anguished voice of uncertainty in people all around us. Everyone, it seems, is talking about the bad economy and the financial markets. Everybody, it appears, is worried at some level.
To someone who is out of a job, life is difficult. The future seems uncertain. A good standard of living is less likely. It's heartbreaking to see a family in need, a business in trouble, a country in constant debate about what to do, where to go, who to blame and how to get back to normal again - soon.
Yes, these are scary times. They can test our faith. They can try our will. They can sow seeds of doubt. But, one thing I am absolutely sure of: These times cannot destroy our spirit. They cannot demolish our soul. They cannot confuse our brains. When things get tough, the tough must get going.
America has traveled down the path of adversity before. On lots of occasions. Really bad recessions and one atrocious Depression - all within the last 80 years. People got hurt. Some were even wiped out. But life, somehow, miraculously went on. Our faith in God Almighty, our genuine support of each other, and our deep belief in the very fundamentals of our system of free enterprise helped us to march on. To hope for a better day. To try and try again. To refuse to be defeated. To allow ourselves to be disappointed but to never be discouraged.
I speak every day to our students and their families. I visit with friends in High Point and around our nation. This recession has touched everyone in different ways and at varying levels. It has touched us all. We may ache because we lost money, a job, an opportunity. But we also ache when we see friends and neighbors suffer in any way.
In spite of it all, I believe in our America. A resilient nation with hopeful people. An innovative country with unlimited possibilities. I chose to become an American. I am proud to be an American. I am grateful to be an American. I thank God every day for my good fortune. I love my country even when I know it is not perfect. I appreciate the privilege of work even when it comes cloaked in cumbersome and stressful clothing. I rise every morning knowing that my Lord won't forsake any of us. That "this too shall pass." That tomorrow will be better than yesterday. That recessions come and go but our beliefs and values are constant. That most people still have jobs now. Life still goes on. The sun still rises daily in the east.
At High Point University, we are proud to be patriotic. We are committed to our Christian faith. We strive every day to plant seeds of greatness in the hearts of hopeful students. It is clear to us that we cannot teach values, but we surely can model them with our attitudes, our actions and our aspirations.
Let us all, dear friends, keep joy in our lives even when it seems difficult to do so. Let us climb the ladder of success even when failure tries to pull us down. Let us remember that we are created for a purpose - grander and better than any human can valuate.
Our life cannot be measured by success; it must be measured by significance. And significance is never measured by fans, fame or fortune. It is measured by commitment to our faith, dedication to our family and loyalty to our friends.
Somehow, I believe better things lie ahead. Meanwhile, let us be positive when it's easier to be pessimistic. Let us be faithful when it is simpler to be doubtful. Let us help each other when it seems more convenient to worry about ourselves. This is America. Land of the free and home of the brave. We cannot forsake our tradition and forget our legacy. We can only pray and hope and work and persist... and look forward to a rainbow that surely lies on the horizon.
Onward we travel.
Dr. Nido R. Qubein is president of High Point University and chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company.