This I Believe

Kristen - Galveston, Texas
Entered on January 13, 2008

It started around noon with a phone call from my husband. His typically calm voice held an underlying urgency as he told me he thought our house had been robbed, that the front door appeared to have been forced open. We quickly said goodbye, he called the police, and I rushed home.

Life slowed as I peeked around the policeman’s shoulder as we walked into our home—a home that seemed safe only a few hours earlier—to find that not only were most of our electronics missing, but almost all our digital pictures we’re gone as well. Maybe it’s cliché, but I wanted the pictures more than the electronics. As a photography teacher and as a wife, I wanted the documentary of my work and my family.

But I felt relief, relief that no one had been at home, that no one had been hurt. I also felt strangely embarrassed as I showed the police around our messy house, explaining that, “No, the robbers didn’t drag out things and spread them all over the house. That’s the way it always looks.”

A carpenter came to fix our front door within a couple of hours, but as my husband and I sat catching our breath, one of the workmen walked in and informed me that my car had been hit. That’s right. While parked in front of the house—legally—my car was backed into. I felt a silly giggle—maybe the beginning of a nervous breakdown—fall out my mouth.

The next day began calmer, but sped forward quickly as I arrived home to find my front door open again. While I waited in my husband’s SUV for the police to come, I noticed the sky was dark. A moment later, lightning struck the SUV. Coincidentally, according to our mechanic, the battery died only a few seconds later.

Now, at this point in the story, I wouldn’t believe myself—except for the fact I’ve got nothing to lose. The story is strange enough without the “struck by lightning” bit. Thankfully, the door had simply blown open because of a strong wind and a weak lock, and also thankfully, I was waiting in the SUV instead of walking into the house when the heavens parted and lightning hit.

Since then, life has become even more difficult. My husband underwent surgery, and only a couple of months later, one of our close family members passed away. I never thought life would be this tough—at least not all at once.

But, these struggles cause me to examine my life and to more readily notice the difficulties of those around me. They allow me to sympathize with others in their hurt and enables me to offer some kind of comfort.

Thus, I believe I hurt, so I can help others who hurt. I believe I struggle, so I can help others who struggle. I believe my life is lived not for myself alone, but for others. This I believe.