This I Believe

KUHF-Houston Public Radio’s “This I Believe” with Melody Ringo

Melody has lived in the Houston area since the mid 1970s. That’s when she moved here with her family from Michigan. Now, Melody, her husband and two daughters live in Hitchcock. She works for a NASA contractor building and maintaining the International Space Station. Melody’s essay expresses her long held belief that snap judgments about people are often wrong…and always incomplete.

Melody was born in California and as a young girl, moved to Michigan with her large family. In the mid-1970s, her father was offered a job as a master electrician in Houston…so, “Boomtown” was their new hometown. She admits that her first couple of years here were difficult, but once she “got over” the humidity, she accepted her new home. Melody is a mother of two daughters and is a grandmother to six little ones. They’re a great source of joy. She’s also proud of her work on the International Space Station. Melody says she feels like she’s “a part of history.”

Here’s Melody Ringo with her essay for KUHF’s This I Believe.
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“I believe each human life can be likened to a valuable book and as such should be treasured…thus I strive to uphold the old adage, “One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” Judging others often leads me form incorrect conclusions and erect invisible barriers, imprisoning both the person I judge and me.

I learned this value as a child and grew up thinking that everyone shared my view. As a youngster I fought peer pressure to disparage those who are different. Today, too often, my snap judgments are disguised as political correctness, which I truly abhor. Still a value worth keeping is a value worth fighting for.

Like you, every day I casually observe strangers who surround me, but do I ever stop to think that the man in tattered clothes standing on the street corner is only temporarily destitute and truly needs help? Would it kill me to acknowledge his humanity reminding myself that but there for the grace of God go I?

One Christmas evening, I accompanied my husband and brother-in-law to a pub in downtown Houston, Texas, to celebrate the season. The pub was packed, the patrons in high spirits, the free holiday buffet, endless. Each time we stepped outside to smoke, a homeless person approached.

Charlie from New Orleans was diabetic on crutches, hands severely swollen and hadn’t eaten for two days. Sonya from Boston was seven months pregnant, lured away from home then abandoned. Leroy from Atlanta needed a job. We listened and responded…a plate of food from the pub for Charlie; information on local resources, hugs, prayers for Sonya; cigarettes and job seeking advice for Leroy.

No longer strangers, I believe each person walked away comforted because we shared a warm cup of humanity on that cold sidewalk and offered a hand-up. I pray they each felt valued as human beings.

One thing is certain. We all walked away humbled, grateful and free…no longer imprisoned by erroneous judgments of our own making.

And that, I believe is as it should be.”

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Fujio Watanabe

Media Productions Manager

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