This I Believe

Tyler - Waco, Texas
Entered on February 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

The Real People

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” This… I believe:

I have inherently lived a life of little strife, of scant challenge. Throughout my years of learning and growing, the real world has failed to slap me over the face. I have played soccer with other well-to-do people, and I have enjoyed bike-rides through neighborhoods of grandparents with eagle eyes for danger. Subconsciously, I knew someday I would be in the ring with my personality; I would be pulling the trigger toward my morals; I might even be dropping bombs on the basis of my true beliefs.

This D-Day, which I expected to come, came to me in the form of a first job, a baby step into reality. Hill Creek Water Gardens, an artistic landscaping company, was the source of all the evil I had judged, not from the flowers or the fish, but through the real people, surviving in a real world. Don’t get me wrong, these people are some of the best, nicest, and most supportive people I will meet. There was Steve, the father of my new family; Jorge the jokester; and Robert, who taught me the most about what I truly believe.

Steve was the boss with more determination than anyone. He did almost all of the work as we grunts did, except he was special because he worked with his one remaining arm. I believe that disabilities don’t make the real person. Jorge was the Hispanic that I could say anything to. We constantly teased each other and relieved each other from the boring heat of the days. I believe that race counts for nothing when the real world shows its face.

Then there was Robert. I will admit that at first sight, I was sincerely intimidated, maybe even a little scared of the man with tattoos covering both arms, with several piercings, and with the rough, subtle smile. After numerous strenuous hours of lifting rock in hundred degree heat, and digging what seemed like graves for ourselves to fill with water and design artistically, Robert finally opened up his past to me. He told me stories of fights, drugs, jails, and then he told me stories of his children, his wife, and his new life. He told me the meaning of each work of art across his arms. I believe that everyone is human and will make mistakes, but Robert proved to me that one can still live with honor. These few unique people are the source and the definition of my belief system. They are the real people that proved to me that what matters most is what lies within, not what glares without.