Walk Through Life with a Smile

Jon - Altoona, Iowa
Entered on January 24, 2008

I believe in walking through life with a smile. I believe that when it rains it pours. I believe in dancing and laughing in the pouring rain. These are metaphors for life philosophies that many people share. Living them out is much harder than talking about them or writing an essay about them. Everyone feels at some point in life that things just can’t get any worse, and many people feel that way more times than one. I walk through these hard times with a smile because that along with my attitude is the only thing that can be controlled.

When I was a sophomore in high school the Key Club put on the first-annual Mini-Dance Marathon. The marathon raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network at the University of Iowa hospital. I was in my second year with the club and I volunteered to go to Iowa City and present the money to the dancers at the University of Iowa. They were having their own full twenty-four hour Dance Marathon later that semester.

When we got there I was introduced to the parents of the children with cancer whom the money was helping. The kids were playing basketball on a court set up for them and I joined in and played for awhile. They were having so much fun at this young and energetic age. Every one of these children was smiling as bright as the sun. They were simply enjoying a game that I would usually take for granted. I could not see the depression of countless surgeries or endless hours of chemotherapy on their faces; only beaming whites and laughter.

I would be lying if I said that I have walked the happiest life or the healthiest life. I have been in the doctor’s office enough times that she asks, “What is it this time?” It can get difficult to be happy and laugh when things are falling apart all around at once. These cancer patients who are no older than ten years taught me a valuable lesson that day. When everything is coming unraveled and the world has its back turned; I believe I can still smile.