My Yellow Shovel

Annalise - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Entered on November 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Hard, plastic, yellow. It was my shovel. My companion for three years, it went everywhere with me; to church, to weddings, everywhere. I don’t remember exactly where I got it, but I know that it was important to me. My mom tried to give me other things to play with, like a doll or blanket, but no, I wanted the shovel. There was nothing else that could protect me like a shovel. I felt like I was queen of the world with that thing. No one, nothing could hurt me or anyone I loved, and no one could stop me. I also remember using it for things that weren’t so nice; like hitting.

But still, I was queen of the world. Then came the day I lost my shovel. How it got lost, I don’t know, but I remember it was a tragic day in my house when it did. Soon afterwards, I got a second shovel. Though this one couldn’t replace the first- it was green, not my favorite color yellow- I do remember carrying it around for a couple of months before I broke it.

Back then, I thought that this shovel symbolized protection, but now, I think it symbolizes overcoming struggle. I look back on the pictures when I am always feeling down or am going through something rough and the pictures of me and my shovel make me smile.

I believe in the power of overcoming struggle. When I was in first grade, I moved. At my new school, Oakdale Christian, I was mocked and teased. The memory of coming home crying every day is not a good one. Fast forward to eighth grade. January through April was rough because my grandpa was not getting better. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer in August 2004. But then, in January, he got diagnosed with both colon and liver cancer. For a while, he was getting better. We all thought that he’d make it through. But, during Spring Break, he started to get worse. I had just gotten back from vacation in Florida. Then the devastating news that he had gone downhill while I was gone came. April 13, 2005, the day he passed away, was the hardest day I had ever known. A few days after he passed away, I was looking at photo albums. I saw that picture and it reminded me that I will be able to overcome the struggle.

Fast forward again, to this year. I had just visited my grandma in August. She seemed great. We had the greatest time; laughing, me showing her pictures from a recent trip, talking. We said goodbye assuming we’d see each other again soon. But then, two weeks later, she had a series of 3 or more heart attacks and passed away on September 10, 2008. Again, I saw the pictures as we were going over our favorite pictures and one of me with my shovel and my grandma came up. It gave me strength and I knew that I would overcome the struggle.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s this: no matter how hard your life is you will always get through it, even if you think that you won’t. You don’t have a yellow shovel? Pick something that will help you remember the good in life. Don’t fret, you will. Struggles are a part of human life. I must learn the power of overcoming them with the help of my church and my family. Overcoming these obstacles are a long process but I know I can get over them. I know it will hurt for a while, but I will overcome it. No matter what.