Unidentified Man #1: I believe in figuring out my own way to confess.

Unidentified Woman #1: I believe in the power of number.

Unidentified Man #2: I believe in barbecue.

Unidentified Woman #2: Oh, I believe in friendliness.

Unidentified Man #3: I believe in mankind.

Unidentified Man #4: This I Believe.


On Mondays, we bring you our series This I Believe. And today's essay comes from Becky Herz. She's a recreation supervisor from Sacramento, California and she's waiting for her husband's return from Iraq. He's a sergeant of the Army National Guard.

Here's our series curator, Jay Allison.

JAY ALLISON: Beliefs can be guiding principles that last a lifetime, but sometimes a belief is simply where it gets you through the day - or the night. That's how it was for Becky Herz when she got up at one in the morning to write this essay for This I Believe.

Ms. BECKY HERZ (Recreation Supervisor, Sacramento, California): I believe that my husband will call me tomorrow. Tonight, I'll say have a great day and I love you to my husband who was 11 times on the way in Iraq, then I'll hang up the phone. I fall asleep as I did last night, next to our baby daughter. We'll sleep in the guest bedroom downstairs — it's less lonely to sleep there for now.

First, I'll pet and talk to our dogs. I weaned them from sleeping with me a few months ago, but they still seem a bit disappointed when I go off to bed without them. I'll promise them a long walk tomorrow, and I'll make good.

In bed, I'll lay my hand on our daughter's chest several times before I fall asleep, just to make sure she is breathing. I'll curl up in two blankets - one from Guatemala, one from Peru. I'll allow these souvenirs of past travels to warm the empty space in the bed. I'll get up three times during the night to feed our baby. Each of those times I'll tell her that she has a beautiful life to look forward to. I can say this because I believe that my husband will call me tomorrow.

In the morning after my cup of coffee, I'll change diapers and move around loads of laundry. I'll pour dog food, eat cereal, get dressed, and do the dishes — all with one hand, holding our baby in the other. I'll do the shopping, pay the bills, and stop in at work to see how my employees are getting by.

Every three hours I'll stop what I'm doing to feed, change and play with our daughter. I'll make good on the promised walk, with our baby strapped to my chest and a dog-leash in each hand. When people say, looks like you have your hands full, I'll smile and acknowledge that it's true, but I make the best of it because I believe that my husband will call me tomorrow.

If there is a letter addressed to me from the military, I'll open it because I believe that my husband will call me tomorrow. If there is a knock at the door, I'll answer it, because I believe that my husband will call me tomorrow. And when he does, I'll talk to him and tell him again that I love him.

I'll be able to hang up the phone, keeping my fear at bay, because I believe — I must believe — that my husband will call me tomorrow.

Mr. ALLISON: Becky Herz with her essay for This I Believe. Her husband David came home on leave to meet his baby daughter for the first time. He's now back in Iraq, stationed in Fallujah, and is expected home again May and June.

Our invitation to write for this series extends to everyone. To see statements of belief from others or to submit your own, visit our Web site NPR.org. For This I Believe, I'm Jay Allison.

INSKEEP: This I Believe continues next Monday on NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. That's when you'll hear an essay from the jazz musician Christian McBride. He's going to explain his belief in cool.

(Soundbite of music)


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