This I Believe

Jenea - Lawrence, Kansas
Entered on January 25, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

New Beginnings

I believe that each day is a new beginning.

My mother has taught me that. She has had to believe that to survive. When she was ten, she had rheumatic fever and was in bed for a year. She was a widow by twenty-one and had a hysterectomy by thirty-one. Through depression, panic attacks, chronic fatigue syndrome, and countless surgeries for countless physical problems she has fought through pain many times, and she has learned to see each day as new and special, instead of just a succession of wastable moments.

I used to think she was overly sentimental. Too mushy for my taste, and naive about the goodness she could find in each day. I would roll my eyes at her optimism, thinking that being a realist was more important. That it meant facing the truth of life head-on. Being strong. I didn’t know then what I’ve learned now – that being strong is being hopeful. That the truth of life, the reality, is that the glass is half full if you see it that way.

Sometimes it takes years to see things with new eyes. It did for my mom. I’ve seen it many times: someone suffers an unbearable loss, or discovers that what he thought to be true, what shaped his day-to-day life, was a lie, or a person loses everything that defined him. It happens all the time. And somehow, sometimes after a very long time, that person emerges from the deepest low to a new day where things begin again. Of course some people don’t, but the possibility is there waiting to be chosen.

I am a mother myself now. The morning my son was born my husband took a picture of the sunrise. The sky was just turning blue, and a sliver of a cloud rested outside my hospital room window. It looked like a slit in the atmosphere, an opening that had let in the seven pound, six ounce miracle that was my little boy. He was fresh and new to the world, and when he opened his eyes for the first time, in a way so did I. To the promise of today. And if today turns out badly, tomorrow is a chance to try again.

I believe that each day is a new beginning. It is a chance to start over, to mend wrongs done, to heal from a hurt, to forgive, to learn something new, to create something beautiful, to be kind, to search for meaning, to love someone better. No matter what happened yesterday, today is fresh and clean as soon as the sun rises and wakes up the sky. I can decide to be different today. There is hope in that. There is life in that. My life is spent a day at a time, believing in the promise of new things and the tomorrows stretched out before me.