This I Believe

patrick - los angeles, California
Entered on October 29, 2007

When I hear people profess their belief, often times it is caused by a result and an outpouring of a fortunate circumstance. My inspiration, on the other hand was ignited by the greatest and the most deadly wildfires in the history of the southern California. Not so much the fire itself that got me thinking, but when I volunteered with cleaning up at a local school in Rancho Bernardo after the fire. As I reflected on over thirty years of my life and my current situation, I ran into a few contradictions with the conventional belief system. In my belief, there are no promises of financial rewards or instant feel-good gratifications. As the matter of fact, my life has been a constant challenge and a series of obstacles.

At the age of 16, I immigrated to the United States from Vietnam. We resided in Oklahoma where I did not leave until I finished college. For the most part my life in a small quaint town of the Great Plains was difficult for a non English speaking immigrant struggling in high school to get good grades and find a self identity. It seemed that I had to work twice as hard to get my homework finished while juggling a 30 hour part time job at a restaurant to help with the rent. In college, it was supposed to be the best time of growing up in America, but my mom was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 58. She passed away within a year, leaving me the responsibility of becoming a man. While the dream of every immigrant is to finish college, there is no mention of student loans in the application of the U.S citizenship. Recently, I have discovered that there is no excuse for being a different colored person when it comes to heartbreaks, but there is huge barrier to fall in love with a person of a different race.

So what good is it to believe in God? By the time this message is read on the radio, I may be out of a job like my other three co workers who were let go recently, because they believe in the creativity of the individual rather than conformity.

I believe in God, because of all the blessings that are too many to be in a 500 word or less essay and they enable me to overcome the hurt and pain. I believe in God because the freedom of self sacrifice for my community and country has led me to serve at homeless shelters in Los Angeles, children’s camps in Ensenada, an orphanage in Morocco and a medical team to the injured in Indonesia after the tsunami. I believe in God because I am given opportunities to make this world a better place.