Lucile Watson recounts her childhood discovery of the knowledge that she could change herself for the better, and, after successes with simple things such as maintaining her hair and quitting nail-biting, she developed a philosophy for life, including a belief that God was in everything and made everything.
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Lucile Watson is one of the great veterans of the American theatre. She made her debut in her native Canada in 1900. Her list of credits covers two columns in Who's Who in the Theatre. She says she has lived four lives. The first twenty years found her in the great theaters from San Francisco to Broadway, from London to Paris. Then came nine years of "retirement" in France. She made a triumphant return to the stage in No More Ladies and added motion pictures to her career. Now at seventy-three, Lucile Watson is well-established in a new medium, television. Here now is her creed.
I believe that I’m the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. I found that out at the age of 10, when my beloved mother died and left me and my father desolate. I was an only child, and all our blood relations lived in England, so I was popped into a boarding school in Ottawa, Canada, like a pup into a kennel, and I had to look out for myself, immediately. I began with my hair, which was long, blond and very straight. If I neglected it, I found that I looked like a sad little spaniel with scraggly ears framing a pathetic face. But if I brushed it regularly and washed it every week and put it up in curlers at bedtime, I had a mass of shining ringlets in the morning that were the admiration of all beholders, and that gave me a satisfactory feeling of accomplishment. So, I taught myself at an early age that I would never be a fatalist, and that if I could control my appearance of tomorrow, I could control
more difficult things, as well. I cured myself at that age of the habit of biting my nails, in a few weeks. And that feat of self-control confirmed my belief in myself.
What else did I believe? I believed and still believe in the first sentence of the Apostle’s creed, as we recited it every Sunday in the Episcopal Cathedral in Ottawa: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. I also believe in the power of prayer to that all-powerful creative force. Now that is the beginning of my belief, and my faith was complete. The channel that I opened as a child has straightened and broadened with the years, and the vistas that have opened are infinite and superb in scope and beauty.
Now in my 3 score year and 13, I can say with joy and reverence and awe that I believe in everything. Yes, I believe in
everything because nothing is or can be without the continual creative power, the all-knowing evolutionary life force. And so I believe that nature and God are one, a perfect mating for procreation. So I might be called a pantheist, believing in all the laws of nature’s God. And I believe in the power of light, and I like to imagine that when this little jewel of a planet of ours was formed that the father Sun, the generator of all life, looked down upon the mother Earth and into the great salt sea, her womb, and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters as it says so poignantly in the first chapter of Genesis—and at that instant, we began to be. Someday all manmade creeds and dogmas will be outworn and abolished, and I believe we will see the light, just as we see our cities illuminated by the power of
electricity and the natural laws that govern it. St. John, in his Revelation, says, “There shall be no need of the Sun by day or the Moon by night, the Lord God, shall be the light thereof." Was that a prophecy of our electrically lighted cities? Well, why not! And if we see the light, why should we not hear the voice? Remember the Bible verse, “He that planted the eye, shall He not see? And He that created the ear, shall He not hear?" We may even hear the power applying to our spoken questions, just as we now hear a beloved voice on the telephone. Scientists will have found the channel, the beam, the code, or whatever the mysterious, the beautiful, the all-powerful thing is through which we live and move and have our being, and which we call our God. This I believe.
That was Lucile Watson, a distinguished veteran of the American theatre, who lives and works in New York City.