I believe that a person’s worth comes from his ability to love. I used to believe that a person’s worth came from his accomplishments. My worth as a student would have been decided by what grades I was able to earn. But every time I failed to procure a correct answer, my self-esteem took a hit. And another. And another. By the time I entered high school, my image of my worth had become bruised and battered, a soldier on his last legs. Obviously, I needed something else to raise me up.
My inspiration came from a writing club I joined in my freshman year, more specifically from its founder. This boy was a born leader, with a gentle smile and compassion for even his enemies. Not only could he effectively lead a quickly thriving club, but he helped everyone with their personal problems through uncanny wisdom. I quickly fell for him and with someone to look up to, everything seemed brighter for a few months.
But they say that the road to discovery is a hard climb up the steepest mountain. Out of the blue, tragedy struck my perfect boy. With the death of his brother, he fell into a deep depression and changed for the worse. He started lying, making false promises, and smoking illegal substances. He lashed out at his friends and quit coming to the club, letting it fall apart. I lost my faith in him and consequently the world, and dropped into my all time lowest point. I didn’t feel like life was worth anything because my grades were failing again and my beautiful chance at happiness had turned into a horrific monster.
Through the love of my friends and family, I gradually gained use of my legs again and although I have yet to fly, I am thankful that they have saved me from the worst. They are the reason I am here today to tell you about how the most important thing in life is not how far we go in our careers, but how far we can stretch our hearts out to care for one another. Love is something to be shared and lasts forever, unlike talent, which can be stolen from a person in the blink of an eye, in the midst of a death in the family, or even with just laziness.
If a person’s worth was based on their abilities, what could explain the unconditional love of a mother to her offspring, a helpless, hairless monkey unable to do anything but cry? What else would explain why people care for the disabled or elderly? I did not love this teenage boy because of his leadership position, but rather because of the love he spread to everyone around him. And, I will continue to love him, extending myself to help him get back on his feet, just as others have helped me rise again. That is the mark of a worthy human being. This I believe.
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