This I Believe

McKenzie - Wilmington, Massachusetts
Entered on December 12, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose

As a teenager, I have been struggling with what my purpose in life really is. Friends, school, love interests, family, and the media take a toll on my way of thought and how I act in these past and upcoming years. As the people of the new generation, we as teens all struggle with personal identity and all seem to come at a crossroads in our lives where we say, “What am I here on Earth for?”

When I was little, I was oblivious to the big bad world around me, and was sheltered like most youngsters by my parents who wanted to have me live a life of pure innocence and happiness about the world around me for as long as possible. Quickly, I came to realize that not all people have good intentions in life.

September 11, 2001 was one of those defining moments, when I, a 4th grader, realized how cruel and unforgiving the world is. Thousands of people died that day, and for what? The only reason they died was because terrorists from the Middle East had hijacked planes into Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City, or so I thought. Now I’ve come to believe that in reality there are no empty slots in life, meaning that everything and everyone has a purpose in life.

Because those innocent people died in the attacks, the United States and the rest of the modern world have become more vigilant in global security. We have shattered the false pretenses on which our modern societies thought insurgent or terrorist groups would never commit such a crime and tragedy upon innocent lives. Although those peoples’ lives were unjustly cut short, they didn’t die without purpose. In life, people are connected to each other and what happens to one person effects a multitude, either directly or indirectly.

In my own personal life, I have also been faced with challenging situations that have made me want to question why they happened. For example, this past June my grandmother at age 83 was diagnosed with breast cancer. My whole family was devastated, shocked, and grieved. In my own shock and disbelief, I remarked, “Why did this have to happen? What purpose does this serve, in a case where my grandmother might lose her life after she’s been perfectly healthy for her age for so long?”

However, I didn’t give up hope. I prayed for her almost every night since the diagnosis, hoping she’d be okay. Since about mid to late October, after grueling radiation, numerous surgeries, and a minor stroke, my grandmother is now in remission. Her purpose in life, I have realized, was to overcome this cancer and show all the people she cares about how personal strength, courage, and faith will let you overcome anything, even breast cancer.

Now I try not to question why things happen so much, and try to take life as it comes. I still struggle with the fact that I do not know what my future entails or what my purpose in life really is, but I know someday I will. Who knows, maybe I’ll be a writer who will craft the next great American novel, or a famous psychologist who will help many people with their problems. All I know is, I’m not worthless and I’m not an “empty slot” or a “holding place”- I am, like every other person on this planet, have a purpose to fulfill in life.