Into the Unknown

Travis - san diego, California
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Throughout life there are very few guarantees. We live and we die. For the most part I have little control over the when and how, yet there is much freedom in how I choose to live life. The choices I make in this world define who I am and help to shape the world around me. We are all free to live a life of our choosing, and pursue one of empathy and compassion. I believe in striving to live a life as such based on the simple fact that life itself is precious and deserving of understanding.

It’s been roughly two months since the incident. Since that long, unforgettable night in which someone’s life was suddenly and without hesitation challenged, and rested entirely on my shoulders. It was a hot and humid late summer evening and my father and I were cleaning carpets in one of the back bedrooms. We couldn’t hear much over that noisy machine, yet somehow we managed to hear the faint panicked yelling of my mom from the living room. My father and I both quickly dropped everything and raced out towards the living room. At this time my mother had her back to us and was talking to someone at the front door through a security screen. She then turned to us, and stated that someone at the door had been shot! She quickly made her way to the phone, as did my father. I hastily made my way to the front door and peered out in frantic curiosity. It was a kid who I had never seen before then, and looked to be about in his mid-twenties. As I began to talk to him, he took one step forward and quickly collapsed face first onto the cold concrete. I scrambled outside to help him and blood was everywhere, spreading quickly! I took a while to locate the wound in all the commotion, but once it was found I quickly applied a tourniquet to his arm with my belt which helped control the bleeding quite a bit. Shortly after, the police and paramedics arrived and I was relieved of my responsibilities.

Roughly two months later the kid was out and about again. He stopped by to thank me many times for my efforts to help save his life. He was confined to a wheel chair for a while because he was so weak from the severe blood-loss, pneumonia and week-long coma. “It was a miracle that he even survived the ordeal at all”, his surgeon had said. The bullet had ruptured two main arteries in his legs and completely shredded part of his colon. The state of his wellbeing really was quite miraculous.

Life naturally, is a relatively short occurrence. And like what happened with the kid that night can end up being even shorter. That unfortunate incident reminded me of one simple truth. Life is brief and full of uncertainty. It is this uncertainty that makes it so precious and valued for simply existing. I believe that we as human being should recognize life for what its worth, cherish its existence and strive to empathize with others. All life is valuable and worthy of understanding.