This I Believe

Michael - Fishers, Indiana
Entered on September 19, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

There are specific events in life that are hard to cope with, that even with the toughest of people all you can do is react in ways that would seem “girly.” Even the strongest of men, the all-pro NFL linebackers, have moments where they break down for a specific belief or event and just cry, or bow their head and offer themselves to their higher power for guidance and strength. It was around my sophomore year in high school that we had a mountain that seemed as tall as Mount Everest. Around this time my father was diagnosed with cancer and when our family was hit with this news we weren’t prepared at all. It was hard to deal with at first, because we were all oblivious to this deadly disease, it seemed as though only the worst will come, and there would be no bright side to this. However we soon realized how wrong we were to judge this “not-as-bad-as-it-looks” disease.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer our whole family lost a part of ourselves, we lost strength. Before this hurdle I thought of my dad as indestructible, he was my superman. And when I heard this news it was almost like somebody had found his kryptonite. For awhile he acted like that too, he lost strength. He lost some of his physical traits, as well as a few of his personality traits. Though if you knew my father at all you knew he wouldn’t go down without a fight. He would never let up until he was ready to, and he certainly won’t be ready for a long time. He beat cancer the first time, and that battle waged on for about a year. Then he was diagnosed again, which he came out victorious again but it came back once again, and that’s where he is now. During this time he’s had several different kinds of treatments, ranging from the typical chemotherapy to a new radiation treatment that required him to be in confinement to protect the people around him from the radiation. When the cancer seemed to be getting to him, you could tell, but when he realized this himself he bounced back, and started back up with his upbeat attitude and everything that makes him my dad. My dad has something special, he has the ability to teach the others around him without any rulers or chalkboards or books or even lectures. The only thing the “student” needs is an open-mind and he could learn more from my father than he could ever learn from school. “Life is good, smile!” its four simple words that can define your life. My father chose to live by those words and he has fought cancer three times and has won every time.

Before we found out about my father’s disease I was a completely different kid, sure I was happy, I was always bouncing around and doing different things that kids liked to do but there’s was something missing that I didn’t have then. You see in my life now there’s rarely a day that I can’t smile, and I look at every situation that I’m put in and take something positive out of it. That’s kind of my philosophy on life, I have to look at the world and say this is the greatest day of my life or else well it simply won’t be the greatest day ever. This attitude has brought a new brightness to my life, and has given me a mission statement that I will never forget. “Life is good, smile!” My dad taught me this, and it wasn’t until a year into his cancer that I realized what exactly that meant. If you want to go through life thinking it sucks then it’s your choice, but if you want to go through life thinking this is a good thing then more power to you. I chose to go through life with a smile, and I have never regretted it. This four word mission statement means more to me than anyone could ever imagine. It has been the backbone to my social, educational, and personal lifestyle. Without this simple statement I would be lost, as if I were in a maze with no exit. My father has had to go through something life threatening and he fought it with something tough as nails, flexible as rubber, clear as day, and as powerful as an entire army. He fought it with his attitude.

Life is all about how you approach it. Your attitude affects how you see life. I’ve learned this from my father, and even though he has been stricken with cancer I’ve found a way to take something positive out of it. Finding the positive side of a hard situation is the definition of my belief. My father’s cancer is always looked upon as bad or something that hinders me. But in reality cancer has taught me something even more, no matter how bad the situation there will always be something you can take out of it. “Life is good, smile!” this I believe.