This I Believe

Meg - LaGrange Park, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Some people say that everything happens for a reason. “When one door closes, another one opens” is a mantra that I have heard many times.

I don’t totally agree with that attitude, however. I struggle to see the positive reason for a torrential hurricane or the good behind a fatal car accident. Is the premature death of a loved one really leaving a fresh door open for anyone involved?

I do believe in making something good come out of a bad situation. I believe in finding a way to force open a new door when another one shuts in my face. I believe in creating something worthwhile as a result of negative circumstances.

Swimming has been my passion since I was eight years old. I love everything about the sport: the rush of competing, the closeness of the team, and the exhilaration that comes with finishing a hard practice. I put everything I had into my freshman swim season, working hard each practice to achieve my goals. My hard work came with a price, and I ended up developing an overuse injury in my right shoulder. I was devastated that I needed surgery to repair my deteriorating shoulder. As a result of my surgery, I missed a year of meets, a year of practices, a year of what I loved most.

As the summer approached, I was so disappointed that I would not be able to swim on the summer swim team that I had been a part of for eight years. I was heartbroken that I couldn’t swim, and I could see no good coming out of my painful injury. Yet I knew I needed to find a way to stay connected to my beloved summer team.

Because I couldn’t swim, I asked the head of the pool board if I could help coach the little kids. Coaching these young swimmers gave me an opportunity to see swimming in a new light. I was able to remember what I loved so much about swimming when I saw the sport through the young children’s eyes. As I helped the children grow to love swimming, they helped me forgive the sport that had caused me so much physical and emotional pain.

The opportunity to coach was invaluable, and I created the opportunity from my distressing injury. Coaching was something I had to search for on my own, a chance that wasn’t just handed to me because of my injury. When so many doors were closing in my face, I found one new door and did everything I could to break it open.

Now I know that I can’t wait for doors to open on their own, for opportunities to come up without my initiation. I know that when a bad situation seems unbearable, I have to search for a way to create a positive outcome. I sincerely believe that when a door shuts in my face, I need to break another door open, no matter what it takes.