I am a believer ... I prefer a life of hope ... Every time I listen to the news or read the newspaper, I have negative feelings. What is this world coming to? This is not what our world should be, nor should we be hearing only the bad news.

Even midst all the economic problems, the political feuds, the dishonesty we hear about, there is still good in our world. We are still the most blessed nation in the world; we are a nation "under God," even though the news media try to tell us otherwise.

I prefer to look at and find the good in our world and in each other. Not a Polyanna type of attitude but the true realization that we are blessed to live in a free country, to worship as we believe, to cherish family values, and care for each other.

Almost 20 years ago, I was given the following poem, which I have treasured. I do not know who the author is other than his name and a few of his other poems. I hope this poem lifts your spirits as it has mine through the years.

I've heard it said the world's a dismal place.

But I know better ... for I have seen the dawn, and walked in the splendor of a morning's sun ... blinked at the brilliance of the dew, and beheld the gold and crimson of an autumn landscape.

I've heard it said the world is sad.

I can't agree ... for I have heard the cheerful songs of feathered masters ... heard the low laughter of the leaves, and the everlasting chuckle of a mountain brook.

I've heard it said the world's a musty sordid thing.

It can't be true ... for I have seen the rain ... .watched it bathe the earth, the very air ... and I have seen the sky, newly scrubbed and spotless, blue from end to end ... and I've watched the winter's snow drape free and bush, to look like Nature's freshly laundered linen hung to dry.

I've even heard the world is evil.

But they are wrong ... for I have known its people ... watched them die to save a freedom, bleed to save a life ... spend of themselves to stem disaster, of their wealth to ease distress ... and I have watched them live, love, and labor ... watched them hope, dream, and pray, side by side.

I have heard them say these things.

But I would disagree ... Because, for every shadow, I have seen a hundred rays of light...for every plea and plaintive note, I've heard a symphony of joy ... for every pennyweight of bad, I have found a ton of good ... good in Nature, in people, in the world.

And I'm thankful I belong.

Bernard J.Patrick

Yes, I am thankful I belong! This is God's world and this is America!

Ruth Moriarity is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.