Lessons from a Fragile Flower

Carly - Liberty, Missouri
Entered on April 5, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: hope, illness

I believe that there is hope for every soul, that even those who are far beyond rock bottom have the possibility of making a comeback. I believe that our circumstances do not have the power to determine our future; rather that actions and attitudes will decide each person’s destiny.

The summer before third grade I got the news that a boy in my grade had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His name was Ben. The cancer was severe and had progressed quickly. I remember standing with him in class one day in May and having him explain to me that his vision was blurry, that he was always dizzy, and that he didn’t know what was wrong with him.

It was June when Ben was diagnosed. I went with my family to see him in the hospital. Seeing him hooked up to all the IVs and heart rate monitors broke my heart. Never before had I seen someone so weak, in so much pain, barely hanging on to the life that God had given them. Ben was skinny, very pale, and he looked fragile. He reminded me of a flower just planted; fragile and weak, yet still so potentially beautiful. And even when things look hopeless for that new flower, there was still the thought that someday it might bloom. I could still picture Ben before the cancer had taken away his childhood.

I went back to school that August to find out that Ben was in my third grade class, which meant very little, as Ben was always in the hospital or home sick from the chemotherapy while I was at school. On the days that he was in my classroom, he was bald, weak, and in a lot of pain. I could tell. He just wanted to be there so he could feel like a kid, not a cancer patient.

I don’t remember exactly when it was that things started looking up for Ben. He started coming back to school, spending Thursdays with me in the “gifted” classroom. Ben was smart, he always had a positive attitude, and he could kick a soccer ball harder than anyone else in my grade. Soon he was in remission.

Ben is cancer free, and although there are no guarantees, I would say he’s going to make it out alright. He lives his life like any other teenager. He does normal things, and from the outside looking in, no one would know how frail Ben had looked in that hospital bed. The weak, fragile flower that’s life had once been in question had bloomed. A situation which once looked hopeless now looked beautiful. Even the worst of circumstances cannot determine the final outcome, but our actions and attitudes can. There is hope for every soul. This I believe.