This I Believe

Erin - Oakwood, Illinois
Entered on September 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I fit in a few last minute stretches as I stand huddled with the rest of my teammates at the starting line. The balmy conditions of the near perfect September afternoon are walls surrounding me, complete with cloudless blue sky canopy. Were I anywhere else, I’d be in a total state of repose; however, I have three miles of running in front of me.

As I crouch down, dreading the piercing sound of the gunshot to cut through the air, I try to mentally prepare myself.

“This too shall come to pass.”

I had heard these words from my mother many times before, her own sort of mantra, and I’ve decided that it’s not such a bad idea.

When I was eleven years old, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, which means my spine was crooked. It wasn’t life threatening and didn’t hurt, but it did come with one major drawback: I had to spend a couple years wearing a back brace. Being twelve years old and on the verge of entering middle school when I was given the news that I would have to do some hard time in a penitentiary of plastic and Velcro, I thought it was the end of the world as I knew it.

I spent the whole afternoon after I got the bad news in as pouty of a state as I could muster…this tactic had often worked with my mom if I didn’t want to do something before, so why wouldn’t it work now? The entire car ride home I waited for her to say, “Ok, Erin, I think the doctor is wrong. I don’t really think you need to wear the brace, so don’t worry about it.” When you are twelve years old, Mom’s word is more valid than anyone else’s, be it an older sibling trying to boss you around, or some doctor who’s trying to ruin your start to middle school.

Although I put forth a valiant effort, I never got the response that I wanted out of my mom. Instead, she told me to stop pouting and that ‘this too shall come to pass.’ On that day, I never thought that the two years that I had to wear that brace would ever pass, and it was sure to ruin my middle school career before it even started. Now, looking back, the time that I spent confined in plastic prison seems like a tiny blip to me. Turns out I survived, it didn’t ruin my start to middle school, and I didn’t even have to wear it as long as originally planned.

Now, when it looks like I’m headed for dire straits, I tell myself that it too shall come to pass. Nothing can go wrong forever, and eventually I will pull through, probably building some character while I’m at it.

The dreaded gunshot pierces the air, and everyone begins the race. Not being blessed with any speed whatsoever, I fall to the back at once. By the middle of the race my legs begin to protest with every step I take, and it never seems like the punishment will end. I could drop out of the race, but I make myself keep going because, although it seems far off, I know that there is a finish line somewhere up ahead and this too, shall come to pass.