One of my favorite quotes is from “Forrest Gump”. Forrest Gump says that his mother used to say that “life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Like Mrs. Gump said, I think you never know what life will give you and I believe that life is unpredictable, but that is part of the thrill of living.
When I was nine, my dad’s father passed away. It was a very hard time for my whole family, because it was such a shock. He had been battling illnesses for a few years, but he had seemed to be improving…or at least there was no dramatic decline in his health. Suddenly, he took a turn for the worse and died a few days later. I remember thinking that it wasn’t fair that my grandfather was taken away, and I wondered what I had done to deserve such a tragedy in my first nine years of life. Now that I am older, I know that it wasn’t because God was angry with me, but because a large part of life is overcoming seemingly unfair tragedies. I had gotten a bitter candy, like the unsweetened chocolate that I always avoid whenever possible. I believe that in everyone’s giant chocolate box, bitter surprises are lurking. While I could live without those unsweetened morsels, it isn’t up to me, and life really does go on. I might not have much life experience under my belt, but I have encountered more sweet milk chocolates than the bitter kind.
When I was a little kid, I desperately wanted to be famous. I didn’t care if I was a supermodel, actress, basketball player, or even a world renowned dolphin trainer. As I grew older, I came to realize that it would nice to be famous, or at least do something that would pave the road to becoming legendary, but that kind of thing wouldn’t happen to me. Only other lucky people got that chance, people who weren’t me. When I was twelve, I went to a model search to see if I could pursue a career in modeling. I doubted I would be noticed, but right away I was welcomed into the business. For awhile, I couldn’t grasp the fact that I might be laying bricks on my path to accomplish my dream of being famous. When I was chosen to be in St. Louis Fashion Week 2008, I realized that it was real, and happening to me. I began to wonder, why me? I now understand that I had a taste of one of life’s sweeter chocolates, and that it was all just chance.
I appreciate the sweet chocolates, although I do know that not everything in Life’s Box of Assorted Chocolates is saccharine. Life truly is random and largely a game of chance and nothing short of wizardry can predict all its twists and turns. While there is some general probability, events can unfold in the exact opposite direction for no apparent reason. Maybe that’s why I enjoy each new day so much; because though you won’t know it, just around the corner an extra sugary chocolate could be waiting just for you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.