This I Believe

Max - Wilbraham, Massachusetts
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Joe was on the bus waiting for everyone to come on. Chris came on the bus, looked at Joe and kept walking. He ventured to the back of the bus where all the “cool kids” sat. They were the ones that bullied him. When everyone came on the bus, Joe did not look to the back. He didn’t have too. He heard the whimpering of Chris, he heard what the kids were doing, he heard it all and yet he did nothing. He couldn’t reach deep inside of himself to stand up for Chris, to help him, to protect him.

Chris’s stop finally came. What seemed like an hour for Joe was only ten minutes. He was petrified when he saw Chris walk by. One of his ears was slightly bleeding, his hair was wet from spit, his tears dripped down. Outside his mother was waiting for him, he went to her, hugged her, took her hand and walked home. Joe realized then how Chris would hold his mothers hand in front of the whole bus every day after school.

Joe could not believe how Chris pushed himself to the limits at school, knowing the only thing he would get out of anything, was being bullied. He would always come back and try again. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” This quote by Mary Anne Radmacher illustrates how Chris always has the mentality that maybe the next day will be better, that maybe he’ll have a fun day and not be bullied.

Joe spoke of Chris as having the most courage he had ever seen in a person. Chris had that determination to look deeply inside of himself to find the courage that dwelled within him. The next day after Chris’s “punishment” on the bus, Chris did not come on the bus or to school. Chris was gone; he hung himself in his garage. Only a note was left, a note for Joe, Chris’s best friend, his only friend.

I remember how I sat on that hard plastic chair taking this story in. The whole tent at the youth conference was silent, the birds stopped their chorus of melodies, the wind died down leaving the leaves motionless. Everybody in that room stared in awe after the story. The tent loomed above us, looking down at all the bodies of people as if protecting each and every one of them. I sat there on the plastic chair not knowing what to do. I was shocked, something inside of me happened. Did my stomach flip? Was I sick? I didn’t know.

As time wore on after this story, I realized what that weird feeling I received during that story was. It was my courage; it came out from its hiding. No longer will it be camouflaged. No longer will it hide from its fears. No longer will I be scared of conquering goals. The determination now flows through my veins becoming a part of my blood, a part of me. I need to have that determination to have the will-power. The will-power to find my courage. And the courage to say “I will try again tomorrow”.