This I Believe

Andrew - Denver, Colorado
Entered on October 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that life is fragile. I see examples of fragile lives every day. Sometimes, it’s in a broader sense while other times it’s personal. In the news, I always hear about life changing events that happen randomly, but I never think one of these events will happen to my me or my family.

I was riding home from school several months ago, when I was informed that my cousin, Eric, was badly injured while playing a friendly game of tackle football at his college. I initially thought that he had simply broken some bones. On the way to visit him however, I learned that he had been tackled in an awkward position and his spinal cord had been hurt. Doctors later said he was paralyzed and would not be able to walk.

After several months, Eric has recovered some movement but is still paralyzed from the waist down. It took me a long time to accept the fact that Eric, a very athletic person, would never be able to exercise or play sports again. It amazed me that such a drastic change in his life could have occurred so suddenly and so randomly. An experience like that is a clear reminder of how vulnerable life is. Eric’s life was changed forever, and in the process mine was too.

On the first day of school of my 10th grade year, my mother was in a car accident. The driver of the other car was burned, but luckily, the injuries were not major. Unfortunately, my mom’s car was severely damaged. Even a common event like an accident is a vivid reminder that we are not invincible. The accident changed my life in a small way but it did make a difference. I think about that morning and realize how lucky I am that in the course of a couple of minutes, my life did not change drastically.

Even events like a terrorist attack or a natural disaster can happen at any time, and they affect everyone. On September 11, 2001, my dad was on a business trip in the New York area. After the attack, my family and I had trouble reaching him to make sure he was safe. Luckily, when we finally reached him, we found he was nowhere near the area. Unfortunately, many other people found out how fragile life really is.

It amazes me that every day we can live life normally and take risks like getting into a car without putting on a seatbelt, while knowing that life is. Not only is it easily affected, but it can be completely changed through everyday events. But I think it’s important not to be so negative. If I were scared to take risks or do anything at all because my life is “fragile”, I would not have a life worth living. Instead, it is important to be thankful for all the “life changing events” that haven’t destroyed our fragile lives.