Gently tucked between miles of Indiana’s miraculous cornfields and a long sluggish stretch of simple country beauty, lies a quaint camp store. The way of life that I adapted there, created a specific inviting atmosphere.
As I recall the memories of this summer, I can’t help but focus on the incident that forced me to reexamine a personal belief I hidden beneath the joy of summer.
The day the incident occurred began like a magical summer day. As happy as a neurotic butterfly on crack, I fluttered around assisting with the needs of vacationers. As the day began to wined down, and the last of the rush of crazed campers left, my co-worker and I chatted and worked soaking up the beauty of a hazy summer day. Under the magic warmth I couldn’t help but realize how perfect my summer was.
It was the simple happiness that maybe each day grand. That day, my particular happiness arose from convincing my coworker to eat mouse nibbled marshmallows. Watching in utter glee, I was so focused on my coworker’s stupidity that the brisk ring of the phone startled me.
I chuckled as I answered the phone. But as the voice became estranged, my face of amusement became long and puzzled. “Aaron died” the voice screeched. Hearing words but unable to comprehend them, it took me an eternity to convince myself of the harsh reality that my long time friend was dead.
Since I had moved to Indiana, Aaron was like another unwanted brother. As we got older, more problems seemed to arise in his life. During these times Aaron would turn his back on his friends. Unable to face the world alone felt he had no choice, but to escape the heartache with drug and alcohol abuse.
His problems surfaced when drunk and high he fell out of a tree. At 15 and freshmen in high school Aaron’s problem landed him in rehab. Interestingly, I witnessed this tragic event that forced Aaron into rehab and his personal vow to change his life for the better.
Aaron’s determination to change inspired me. During my many struggles Aaron shaped my desire to overcome. Aaron was the first person, whom I felt totally understood me. He would call about stupidity and recognize my potential and talents. He pushed me to be more.
I remember summers of playing video games, eating chicken nuggets, and swimming till the sun went down. Three weeks before his death I remember running into him while shooting hoops. As we talked, I told him about my plans for college. He shook his head and said “don’t you remember everyone telling you can’t make it and the struggle you went through, you proved them all wrong”. “You’re going to make it and be somebody” Those were the last words I would ever heard him utter.
When I went home from work, I claim on top of my roof, to tried to put things into prospective and grasp the reality that he took own life by overdosing. His entire life was a roller coaster with extreme lows. I recognized that during times of struggle Aaron pushed people away. Due to distrust, he refused to allow others to help. No matter how strong, no man even Aaron can face the world alone.
That night as I sat on the roof, I could feel the wind striping away my shield and leaving me behind venerable to face the fact that I too struggled with trusting others. Standing on the crossroad, I could see how close I was to Aaron’s fate. Aaron’s struggle forced me to accept, that without the ability to depend on others I am doomed.
Though Aaron amounted to nothing, he left behind more than anyone could have asked. He left a lesson to be learned, that the ability to depend on others is key. Because of him, I don’t have to make the same mistakes. That day I accepted what is now one of the biggest beliefs I hold. Because of Aaron I can say I believe in the need to trust and depend on others.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.