This I Believe

David - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on March 27, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that one must rediscover the past to discover the future. Although we’re constantly accosted with events that challenge our decisions and shake the foundations of our beliefs, the structure will ultimately stand; everything we are is solidified within the memories of the past. And the prospect of a mysterious future only invites us to reconnect with our experiences and reaffirm our life’s direction.

In a few months, I’ll leave my familiar surroundings and immerse myself in the exciting yet dizzying experience of college life. Being given this new independence and individuality has conjured up questions about what kind of person I’d be once liberated from the influence of my parents. What will guide me throughout my life? What motivates me now, and what will?

My search began with my environment. My high school features some of the brightest students in Tucson, and many graduate into prestigious universities as prospective lawyers, managers, and entrepreneurs. While I don’t condemn their emphasis on intellectual pursuits, I realized that I don’t want my profession to ultimately define me. I don’t want a standardized test to classify my abilities; I don’t want a high-powered career to be my greatest lifetime achievement. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I definitely knew what I didn’t.

So I searched again, this time internally. And in this search, I discovered a small but persistent whisper within me challenging me to reexamine my faith. I’ve regularly attended a local Methodist church with my family, but I didn’t believe everything we professed and sang; I thought of it as ritualistic rather than enlightening. But through personal meditation alongside biblical research, I’ve discovered that my passion for math and science don’t discredit theological claims but enhance them. I’ve discovered that love, that all-encompassing invitation offered by God, should guide my actions and reinforce my relationships. I shouldn’t hold intellectual pursuits above anything else in this world, but instead incorporate emotion, humility, and cooperation into everything I do.

This fundamental change has percolated into every aspect of my life. I’ve volunteered at my church as a youth liturgist, and complemented my worshipping at church with continued supplements and devotionals. I’m considering taking theology classes at college, stimulating my heart by stimulating my mind. I view my career aspirations as a doctor not merely as an enviable profession with scientific promise, but also as an opportunity to heal the sick, to help those less fortunate and extend God’s love to others.

I believe that life-changing experiences are just that: life-changing. I have searched my soul for the subtleties that truly identify me, delving deep within the person I have become to discover the person I will become. And through this exploration, I have uncovered a part of me shimmering with purpose and passion, something trapped beneath the information I thought could explain the world. It’s in this final reconciliation between intellectual pursuits and emotional maturity, blending an unknown future with a familiar past, that I believe.