This I Believe

Emily - Woodland Park, Colorado
Entered on November 20, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I can’t help but notice, as a junior in high school, that most of my peers seem to have a different perspective on life. They are fun-loving and living for the next Friday night. Now, of course I want to have fun and enjoy my teenage years, but don’t want to settle for just that.

On April 3, 2008 my life drastically changed, although it was a change that had been long coming. My loving and hard-willed father could not fight his battle with cancer any longer. Without any form of medical help, I, my mom, three sisters, and a few family members helped him through his excruciating battle those last few weeks. It was devastating for me to experience the death of one I loved so dearly and be completely helpless to change the situation. I was puzzled as to how this life, that we strive endlessly to make successful, can end so quickly and completely. As I struggled to find answers to my longing questions, it was the compassion and faithfulness of a distant relative that brought me new light.

Through this experience, I learned that all we are guaranteed in life is the present moment, and it is what we choose to do with each moment that makes the difference. This aunt could have easily come to the funeral, said her condolences, and moved on with her life. Instead, she has faithfully sent cards, little notes of encouragement, and gifts every week for the past 8 months. In some of my deepest moments of sadness, it was the call from a friend or a shoulder to cry on that gave me hope. I have come to realize that is the small measures, the extra steps of compassion that make the difference. I believe in seizing every moment with compassion.

I don’t want to go through the motions of life, just getting through to the next day… I want to be the difference in the lives of those around me!

Telling someone how beautiful they truly are, giving words of encouragement or an extra tight hug; these are the things that make life extraordinary.