This I Believe

Ashley - Pasadena, California
Entered on March 2, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Most people think of heaven as the place you go after you die. The main point being, heaven means death. For me though, it is quite the opposite. I think you can be in heaven whenever you want to. Grasping the concept of heaven is hard to do. Is it simply the cherry on top of an ice cream Sunday, or is it so much more that some people can’t quite comprehend it? In my mind, heaven is the little things in life that make you so happy that you get the jitters in your stomach.

My fondest memory is being at a horse show at the LA Equestrian Center. The horses were everywhere, and I had my whole second family around me. We were all eating “horse show Caesar salads” and making jokes. At that moment, I felt as if my life couldn’t get any better. By second family, I mean my horse trainer and barn friends. Through my riding, I have come to understand what heaven really is.

It’s not a place where you go when you die; it’s that moment in life where you truly feel alive. I believe that more people should live for the moment. I have heard many times people say, “This is heaven!”. When I am at the barn, I say that and I really mean it. If you read this essay and still think that heaven can’t be found on earth, then at least consider special moments as little pieces of heaven. The world is a dangerous place these days. The little joys in life are how some people make it through.

A soldier in Iraq, also a father and husband, gets a picture of his wife and daughter. Although he is in a horrible place, just that one picture made his day, and gave him those stomach jitters because he’s excited about coming home. It’s little things like that that can do wonders for someone.

Yes, everyone has their bad days, and you wonder how you will go on. I have had many of those days. The best thing to do is to try and get past them as quick as you can. When I am having a bad day, I just say to myself that a new day is coming. Of course, I am not a crazy spiritual person who lives by one thing and is all enlightened and calm all the time. Yes, there are times when I want to pull all my hair out and kick the dresser and throw the lamp at the door. Times like these cannot be avoided. But, then again, times like those don’t happen every day (at least I hope not). So, when you are having a good day, you should embrace it. I always try to live my life to the fullest, spending time with my friends and riding the horses at the barn. So, wherever you are or whatever you are going through, live life like you’re already in heaven. Heaven is what you make it to be, and this I believe.