This I Believe
I believe that life is a gift.
My English teacher recently asked my class to respond to the statement “Life isn’t fair.” The class quickly took sides and while I stood on the side of the room that disagreed with the statement, it was obvious that the majority of the class believed the statement was true. At first I didn’t really know where I stood on the issue and decided to disagree mainly because that was where my friends stood. Then, sitting there listening to my classmates argue about what constituted a fair life versus an unfair life, I realized you couldn’t have one or the other.
Life is too short to sit there and contemplate it, you just have to go out there and live as if everyday is your last day because it very well might be.
On a very dark, cold and wet February night during my fourth grade year, my mom was driving myself and my siblings to the grocery store after basketball practice. As my mom made a left turn into the parking lot, another car hit the side of our minivan head-on. All I can remember is a loud crash, a really scary couple of seconds (as our car spun around) and opening my eyes to the screaming of my mom and an unusually severe headache. I looked over at my brother, a toddler at the time, who was screaming unlike I had ever heard him scream before. His seat that had been knocked over so that it was crushing me was the sole reason he managed to survive the crash, had his car seat been any smaller he would have surely fallen victim to the brutal force of the other car or the dangerously sharp shards of glass. In a daze I managed to escape from my entrapment and was reaching for my little brother when I looked over my shoulder to see my little sister’s eyes roll back as blood flowed heavily from the side of her head.
I have never been as afraid as I was in those few short moments. Still prisoner to that painful daze, I grabbed my two brothers, holding the little one, head still pounding, and stood out in the cold as my mom laid my sister on the ground in wait for an ambulance. Seeing my sister like that, unconscious, bleeding and so lifeless changed me. I can barely remember that night, but I do remember standing there holding my two brothers, shivering and screaming all at once, begging for an answer to the question that was on everyone’s mind, “Is my sister going to be okay?”
Luckily, my sister had not broken her neck or anything else, and while I had to stay in the room and watch the doctors put staples into her head, her screams of pain, signs that she was still alive, gave me a feeling of relief that I’m sure I will never be able to experience again.
After that night, I never could look at my sister the same. Sure, we still fought (and still do) and we will never get along perfectly, but I will always know just how much I love her because I know exactly what it feels like to think she’s gone forever.
So when my teacher asked us if life really isn’t fair, my first thought was, “Yeah, bad things happen to good people!” But, these events teach us to learn from our mistakes and these events allow us become better people and have those second chances that in essence let us appreciate life for all that it is worth.
In that regard, I believe that life is a gift because it gives us the opportunity not only to experience life and its wonders, but to appreciate them as well.
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