This I Believe

Sam - Seattle, Washington
Entered on January 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: freedom, nature

I believe in freedom. To do what you want, when you want, and how you want to. I believe in freedom for three reasons. First, because America was founded on a belief in freedom. Second, because it is the right of every living thing to be free and happy. And third, I think someone can only truly be happy when they are free.

In think this belief took root in me when I taught to my grandparents about my heritage for the first time. They explained to me the horror they had dealt with during the Holocaust, and how they had fled to America for safety. They fled to a country that they knew wouldn’t persecute them, and where they could start their lives over. The freedom to escape the hurts of the past and go on into a hopeful future.

While this experience had gotten the belief started in my head, I first experienced true freedom several years later. It was to be the first camping trip I had ever taken with my dad, and I was opposed to the idea. I would rather stay home and play with my friends, and my cats, and keep up-to-date on all the cartoons. But no, he insisted. So, we packed up our things and, at some early hour that I barely knew existed, started riding up into the mountains. At first, I stared angrily out the window and only saw row after row of trees. But, slowly, I began to like it more, as the rotted look of city flora faded away, to be replaced by the wild beauty of the North Cascades.

After a while, I was in love. Everything looked so fresh and new, but at the same time I still new that this was an old, old place. But, for the time being, I could only see the wilderness, so I wasn’t quite there. We arrived still in the dark, with only the warm glow of the flashlight to help us set up camp. At this point, I was sick of this place again. It was freezing cold, still pitch dark, and I had only gotten two hours of sleep before we left, with no more in the care. I began looking around for something, anything that would help raise my spirits, and when I looked out into a direction that I would later know as East, I found that something. The sun rose through the dark blue clouds, lighting and warming all it touched. When it finally found me, I gasped in awe, because I could actually feel it. Slowly, it rose in the sky, illuminating the endless sea of green that surrounded our little campsite. And then, I knew what it was that surprised me so much: the freedom of it. No buildings, no electrical wires, no seagulls or smoke, or anything but that lush, dark, amazing greenness. It just me and Dad, out in a world of green freedom.

I’ve never questioned this belief, or misunderstood it. What is there about it to question or misunderstand? There are no rules or complications about it, because they are it’s opposite and enemy. I think that freedom is only found when you look into your heart and have no worries at all.