This I Believe

Brent - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 5, 2007

My name is Brent and I believe that we owe much of the comfort and success we enjoy in our daily lives to the work of other people, and I believe that it’s up to each and every one of us to re-pay this debt.

I’m not an overly religious man, but there is a verse from the book of the prophet Isaiah that really epitomizes the basic philosophy that has guided me throughout my life: “Here I am, send me!” These five simple words do more to encapsulate the way I look at the world and my place in it than I would have ever thought possible.

The last 21 years of my life have been nothing short of charmed. My home, located just outside of a small town in Pennsylvania, is one white picket fence short of a Rockwell painting come to life, a realization of the American Dream; complete with two parents who are still madly in love after 25 years of marriage, three siblings who would do anything for each other and a dog so friendly that the neighbors all know him by name. So why, if my life was so good, would I leave the home and the family that I love to sacrifice my time, my effort and possibly even my life to serve other people? Because sometimes you have to be willing to stand up for what you love, and if you truly appreciate all of the gifts that you’ve been given, you should do your part to make the world a better, safer, happier place for the next generation.

Doing your part, though, should not always be limited to helping those close to you. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I made three separate trips to New Orleans and gave three weeks of my time and energy to try to make a difference, even if only in one person’s life. Every brick re-built, every home made whole meant the world to that family, even though years of work still remain before the Gulf Coast can be said to have “recovered.”

I believe that a life spent in service to others is an expression of the noblest aspects of human nature. Every person can make a difference if they only find the courage to stand up for what’s important to them, regardless of the cost, the danger or the chance of failure, this I believe.