This I Believe

Laura - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on September 28, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe essay

It was Spring Break of my Freshman year in high school when I traveled down to Delande, Florida. It was here that the Duvalle home, a sanctuary for disabled people, stands tall.

Shortly after my arrival at the Duvalle home I found myself in a room with disabled people. My eyes grazed the entire room until they reached a small girl. Her wholehearted smile seemed to tranquilize all my concerns.

Immediately I walked over to her and a pleasant conversation began comfortably. I soon learned her name was Elizabeth. When I was with Elizabeth her high spirits led me to a miraculous place void of all hatred and evil. Never did 10 minutes pass before Elizabeth reminded me that she loved me and she loved her mom. Her generous heart made me think of the warmest things that could comfort any fear. Upon my departure, Elizabeth gave me a note that said “I love you Laura, love Elizabeth.”

Later I was told that at a young age Elizabeth was left abandoned at the Duvalle home because her mother did not want a child with Down’s Syndrome. After my visit with Elizabeth I remember looking at myself in the mirror and crying. I was ashamed with who I had become. I realized how unbearably selfish and arrogant I can be. I was so wrapped up in my own self-possessed worries that I never took the time to appreciate how blessed I am. I have a good mind, family and friends who love me, the ability to play sports competitively and the opportunity to make a difference in my life and others.

Unlike myself Elizabeth never had a mother to comfort her cries or to pat her back. Yet this didn’t prevent her heart from growing because unlike everyone else she was able to love anyway. Her capacity to enjoy the world and love everything makes her spirit unconquerable.

I left for Florida believing I could make a difference by reaching out to handicapped individuals. Yet it was Elizabeth who has forever impacted my life. Elizabeth introduced me to the unconditional love that only she embraces and she has abeld me to cherish everything in my life. Elizabeth can only reach out to those in the vicinity of the Duvalle home. Therefore, I believe it must become my responsibility to share Elizabeth’s love with the world so that maybe everyone can grow as much as I have.