This I Believe

Jamie - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

I Believe in Sacrifices

Soldiers crawl on the bloodied ground past their dead companions with the hope of calling that day a victorious one, but most are riddled with bullets. Firefighters throw themselves into collapsed buildings to save others only to be crushed under the debris and become the victims themselves. Why do they throw their lives away so recklessly? I used to ask. I was selfish and could not grasp the idea of sacrifice. I used to believe that the world was only about me. But in the year 2001, I moved to U.S. at the age of eleven and my father made a sacrifice that made me realize that I was wrong.

My father did not sacrifice his life or suffer physical damages. After all, he was unlike those brave firefighters and soldiers. He was only a government official working endlessly in his office. Nevertheless, he made a sacrifice, a bit spontaneously perhaps, but then, there is no such thing as a planned sacrifice. He did not jump in front of flying bullets, nor did he run into fires. He didn’t give away his eye or kidney. Instead of a kidney or an eye, he gave up something else: his identity and life as a father.

He sent us away to U.S. while he stayed behind. If it weren’t for his decision to stay behind and continually support us financially while we live in U.S., I wouldn’t be here, nor would I be fully clothed or satiated. My father has been living alone and working incessantly over the six years. For what? For his “family” that he hasn’t seen for a long time? I puzzled over this question as I overheard my mother weeping again in pity and overcome with grief as she talked with my father on the phone.

Then, one day, as I was helping at a Decatur summer event for challenged children, I understood why in this world there are those who gave up their lives for others. That day, I stood in the middle of the park, foolishly grinning while handing out ice cones and I saw all around me, there were people devoting their summer afternoon to be with these neglected children. While I was there for community service hours, others came without any selfish reasons except to give their time up for the benefit of these children. I then realized that the world was not about me nor was it about those children, the volunteers, or others who simply do not care. The world was the relationships among everyone. This world was about how we act towards or for each other.

Before we moved to U.S. without my father, I used to think my father was horrible because he had committed some despicable acts. I used to believe that he did not love me. But now, I understand. His decision six years ago shows me that I was wrong. I believe that like his, sacrifices are the finest form of love.