This I Believe

Lauren - Parsons, Kansas
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe

I believe this materialistic world we live in is too quickly forgetting how to show compassion. Everyone encounters numerous situations in which he or she is given the opportunity to show kindness to others. The difficult question is whether we react in compassion, or simply ignore the situation. I can remember perfectly a specific time I had to answer this challenging question. Seated towards the middle of a large, crowded summer camp’s cafeteria, I glanced around the bustling room and listened to the racket of one hundred teenagers talking and laughing. I was sitting at one of the long rows of battered, old dining hall tables with a group of close friends. We chatted and joked contentedly, glad to be in the air-conditioned building. Our happy conversation lulled as we ate our rushed lunch, and I casually began looking around the room. I spotted a girl, sitting at the very end of one of the many wooden tables. She sat silently, completely alone in a distant corner of the noisy room. My smile faded as I noticed an all-too familiar look of loneliness on her freckled face. Her pretty green eyes, somewhat hidden behind thick glasses, looked straight down at the chipped tabletop. Still staring at the stranger, I watched as a nearby clique of girls began to take notice of the unknown camper as well. They mockingly began whispering about her too tight, inexpensive clothes and dated hairstyle. I stared, horrified, as the nervous girl began noticing the faux whispers. Her small face turned bright red as she hurriedly scooted her chair away from the table. Clumsily tripping over her deserted seat, she stumbled for the exit door. My mind raced as I wondered what to do. I wanted desperately to help, but something kept me glued to my seat. Suddenly, my friend, Cody, nudged me to get my attention. I looked over at him as he quietly nodded his head towards the door. With out a word I loudly scooted my metal, folding chair away from our table and headed for the exit. Once outside, I quickly located the now crying teen. I slowly eased myself onto the hard ground next to her sobbing form. Suddenly realizing someone west next to her, she looked up at my face. With out knowing what else to do, I awkwardly extended my hand and introduced myself. “I’m Lisa,” she said, lightly shaking my hand. After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, I quietly stood up. A crooked smile slowly began spreading across Lisa’s tear-stained face as I helped her to her feet. I walked with her back into the noisy cafeteria and led her to my friends’ and my table. After offering her a seat, I quickly introduced my new acquaintance. My friends all smiled at me knowingly as we began talking and laughing together. While this experience does not necessarily portray an amazingly heroic act, it does demonstrate a time that I said “yes” to compassion. I may not have saved an endangered species or fed an entire village of starving children, but I did my best to show kindness to a hurting neighbor. And who knows? Maybe someday I will end up famous for some phenomenal achievement. I believe if people everywhere began working together, regularly committing small, random acts of kindness, we could start a chain reaction of compassion that just might spread across the entire globe. Who knows?