This I Believe

Alice - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on February 6, 2008

When I was a child, I was dreadfully shy. It took a lot for me to talk to anyone. I only had close friends, because I was too afraid to talk to anyone else. My best friends were my family members who I knew would love me unconditionally. Now I wonder how many great people passed underneath my nose simply because I was too afraid to make a fool of myself. Throughout high school, I thought that I had succeeded in conquering my shy tendencies. I perceived myself as an outgoing person. I had discovered a friend that I had known for years, but I had never had the courage to make the relationship into a friendship. She is an amazing person who has helped me through hard times and has told me stories about her difficult childhood that give me hope that determination can overcome anything life throws at you. I joined the debate team at my school and competed in tournaments. I also became more involved in my church’s activities. Then life threw me a curveball, my grandfather died right before my high school graduation. I was nineteen at the time. At the funeral, I was a pall-bearer along with my brother and cousins, but the funeral passed as a glaze. As I sat listening to my father talk about everything that my grandfather had done in his life and personal accounts of people that were close to my grandfather in his younger years, I realized that I hardly knew my grandfather at all. I hadn’t ever had the courage once to ask him about his youth or even his adult years. He had saved people trapped in a cabin in a snowstorm while he was the emergency CB radio dispatcher. He played a mean game of dominoes. He was a preacher that did not hesitate to give his heart and soul to his family and his congregation. I had missed out on a wonderful person that I was related to, because I never had the courage to ask. I still regret that I never sat and listened to any of these stories. I can’t now, although I can hear about him through the stories of other people. I realized that I missed out due to my insecurity. I believe that the courage to ask questions and to potentially look foolish is important tool in not missing out on a fulfilled life.