Laugh, Love and Lift

Martin, Mary
1954-06-18

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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mary Martin, the girl from Weatherford, Texas who was once a dancing teacher, has been a Broadway sensation ever since she sang My Heart Belongs to Daddy. She made unprecedented theatrical history as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Now she is starring in a straight play for the first time, a romantic comedy entitled Kind Sir. Here is Mary Martin.
When I was five and people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up I quickly said, "To sing and dance on the stage in New York and to be happily married and have two children."
When I was ten I experienced two memorable moments that have helped guide me ever since.
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In the Episcopal Church in Weatherford, Texas, when I told the minister my dreams he said, "God has given you a giving talent. Each of us is a vessel, a medium, of expression. You must have faith to sing and dance. Just believing you can do these things is not enough; studying and working for them, you will do them. Faith is the most powerful means in the world."
The second moment came when my schoolteacher spoke a verse and then gave me a card with the words printed on it. They were: I would be true, for there are those who trust me; I would be pure, for there are those who care; I would be strong, for there is much to suffer; I would be brave, for there is much to dare;
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I would be a friend to all-the foe-the friendless; I would be giving and forget the gift; I would be humble, for I know my weakness; I would look up and laugh and love and lift.
I was told these things at a wonderfully impressionable age and they have never left me. I have been happily married for fourteen years and we have two healthy, happy children. I sing and dance on the stage. But there have been great tests of my faith.
Once during a performance of Annie Get Your Gun in Oklahoma City I suddenly couldn't sing. Not a sound came out. All the doctors I saw that night and the next day said I must not sing or speak for weeks, or I might never sing again.
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We were to open in Los Angeles in less than five days. I consulted a throat specialist there. Could I open? He wouldn't say, but immediately he began treatments, three times a day. The afternoon of the opening, I asked him again, could I perform that night? He said only I could answer the question. We went to the theater. I stood on the stage and sang a scale, the first sound of any kind I had made in four days. They said they could hear me in the last row of the top balcony.
Shaking, I went to my dressing room and lay down. In the quiet darkness I was able to clear away the suspense, the doubts and fears. The doctor had given me every help. People who had faith in me depended on my opening that night.
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Now I felt a moment of the greatest joy and a new strength came. I breathed deeply and held each moment of strength within me. Long before my cue, I knew I had much to give that night, and within me, I knew, was more than enough of the necessary health and happiness to give.
I have met many people some smile or doubt or deride any attempt to give expression to a faith. Yet, I have known that there are those who trust me, those who care; there is much to suffer, much to dare; I know my weakness, my friends and the friendless. I know the joy of giving and I have been given to beyond wishes or dreams.
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I want to look up and laugh and love and lift. I have had faith from an early age. My faith, only my faith, has made my every wish come true. This I believe, this I know without exception.
Those were the personal beliefs of Mary Martin. They were chosen from the beliefs broadcast in the past two years for inclusion in the new This I Believe book, now at your bookstore.