This I Believe

Natalie - Provo, Utah
Entered on December 3, 2008

My junior year in high school I had to change groups of friends due to a difference in beliefs. I felt strongly that some of the things my former friends were doing would ultimately land me in Hell if I chose to participate. So I started hanging out with new people. Towards the end of the year I received an email from one of my old friends, forcing me to respond.

In this e-mail my friend talked about the purpose of life. He argued that humankind’s only accomplishment is in fueling the world’s cycle of pain. In regard to child birth, he believed that by giving life we were only giving pain. And then he talked about suicide. “Was it worth it,” he asked me, “to end the cycle of pain for our future generations when doing so would instill the same amount of pain on others through our absence?” He told me that, “For a moment of joy to the world, you give a lifetime of pain, but for an eternity of your relief brought by a moment of pain, you give an entire world remorse. It all comes down a simple choice of now or forever.” He ended by telling me he had no one to talk to, and that he had been forgotten and passed by.

For one horrific moment, I felt solely responsible for his suicidal thoughts, and in that moment I considered giving up my new way of life and going back to what I had been before. I was faced with my own choice of now or forever. In going back I would essentially be sacrificing forever for now. I could no longer be happy the way I had been, because I now realized that what I had been before wasn’t who I truly was. My new friends had taught me that life was truly beautiful. So, rather than give that up, I explained it to my suicidal friend. I admitted that it was my choice to stop hanging out with him and my other old friends, and after listing a few things that make life beautiful, I told him about my aspirations in life. I told him of how I hope to someday be a mom, and that I believe that I can give my future children more than just pain. I’ll be giving them life, which contrary to popular belief, isn’t just pain.

Life is what you make it. We can all choose to be happy. All we have to do is cut ourselves free from all the pain and anguish of ‘now’ and let ourselves live for ‘forever’. Doing so doesn’t mean the pain and anguish will disappear, because it won’t. It just means we’ve chosen not to let it live our lives for us. I’ve learned that life can be beautiful if you’ll live your now in the perspective of forever.