This I Believe

Jarret - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Up until one year ago, my forced entry into the real world would have scared the living hell out of me. With graduation looming in the very near future, the time for me to be independent and responsible for my own livelihood was staring me directly in the face.

Four years in the pursuit of a higher education with the goal of employment has been my only focus, however along the way something hit me and changed my outlook on life. I was fortunate enough to spend a semester in Rome, Italy during which was one of the most significant moments in world history; the passing of John Paul II and subsequent selection of a new pope.

The concept of faith became apparent to me while in the Vatican during Easter mass, which indeed happened to be the last public address of John Paul II. Upon his appearance, thousands of people fell to their knees in prayer. Even more were crying.

Up until this point in my life, my biggest concern dealt with which Fortune 500 company I was going to work for after graduation. I feared the unknown; where I was going to live, who was I going to live and work with, and how I would make a living. However now, after experiencing such a higher life function a sense of calm took over my constant anxiety.

During these most historical two weeks in Rome, over two million pilgrims flocked to the Vatican to pay their respects. I never once imagined such an overflow of concern, prayer, and faith. The power of faith compelled people to drop everything they were doing in their lives, and travel whatever distance, to be a part of this moment.

Most significant was the day St. Peter’s cathedral was opened for public viewing of the late Pope John Paul II. When I first entered the line, I wanted to be there for the history and experience, however as my wait continued and two hours turned to four, and four hours turned to six, and six hours approached nine hours of waiting before I entered St. Peters; I realized my reasons for staying were now different than earlier that day. I was now overcome with hope, compassion, tolerance, and faith; I shared these feelings with over two million people I’ve never met or seen before. Suddenly my previous concerns about my impending future seemed trivial.

It is this experience which has led me to believe in the power of faith; with which has the ability to comfort and bring confidence in knowing there’s more out there. I believe that faith can unite all and put one’s live in perspective.