This I Believe

Kersten - Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Entered on January 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

Have you ever had a tragedy hit you or someone you love? Well, there was a sorrowful time in my life that hit me and my family really hard. My uncle recently had passed away from cancer. He had been fighting it for only a year until he couldn’t fight it any longer. How could this happen so quickly? He lived in a lake cabin on Lake Madison that was very special to me and my whole Bork family. The lake had always been a place in my mind that represented family and adventure. It had been a place where I could go and enjoy life. Many experiences, accomplishments, and lessons learned at the lake that I never forgotten. When I was younger, I can remember always wanting to go to the lake just so I could smell the green algae, touch the wooden, creaky dock, and hear the waves rustle against the rocks. Never before had I looked back at what the lake meant to me until the tragedy hit. It had not occurred to me that what he taught me makes a huge impact on my life now. He taught me that you either control your attitude or it controls you, to never quit, spend as much time as possible with the ones you love, and many, many more. I felt honored that he would give me such advice.

(2 years previous)

On a mid-July afternoon, outside, way beyond my lake cabin, my sister and I were walking along the sandy beach. We spotted a floating bottle about three feet in the water. “Go get it!” I pleaded to my sister. “Before it floats away.” She raced to get and once she retrieved it, opened it quickly. It was a treasure map of the lake leading no where in particular. You could tell the drawing was by a child, because it had scribbles all over the page. The map wasn’t what had caught my attention right away though, it was the quote stated at the bottom: “The Lake is where your heart’s at.” For what seemed to be such a small child who drew the picture, what a deep meaning he had by this quote. But what did this mean? How did it affect me? I felt a wave of confusion running through my head and I couldn’t come up with the answer. Nevertheless, I knew that it was destiny for me to find the bottle.

Everything now seems to have clicked into place. I have learned that the lake isn’t just a place; it is actually a symbol of love and family and unfortunately, I had to figure that out the hard way, through the death of my uncle. Also, I figured out that I have a place to call my own and spend it with the people I love to be around. My discovery is that at the end of the day, your family will always be there.