The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

Shannon - La Crescent, Minnesota
Entered on April 13, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

When I think about what’s most important to me and what forms the basis of my values, none of it has to do with material possessions. I like my house, but it’s my family that lives there, and the memories we’ve created in it that make it a home. My parents and my best friend have been my support system for my whole life, showing me how to love others with their examples of love.

I believe that love is a force of good in everyone; everyone has the power to do great things because of it. It’s the most powerful feeling in the world; it’s what makes families, spreads joy, helps other people, and drives all actions that are worthwhile. My parents’ love for each other and for me has shaped me into the person I am today. They’ve always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, from sports to music to traveling. When they sent me on my first church mission trip to Florence, Colorado, I had no idea how much my life would change. I found a passion for serving other people, living simply, and concentrating on other peoples’ needs before my own. When people ask me why I would pay money to work on a stranger’s house for a week, I tell them that it’s a labor of love. Seeing the positive change I make in someone’s life is the only payment I need for my service. This summer I plan to go on my fifth mission trip, and I know I will keep serving for the rest of my life.

My best friend also taught me a lot about love. Life is so simple for her, and she loves me enough to share her insights. She brought me closer to God by keeping Him at the forefront of my life, kept me on the right path, and has been there for me no matter what. She is level-headed, focused, faithful, trustworthy, supportive, caring, forgiving, and most importantly, loving. Because of her friendship, I know how to be a good friend to others.

I believe that the love I give away is much more important than the love I receive. What goes around comes around, and I want love to come back around and knock me off my feet. Just a few days ago, I was listening to music in the bathroom while getting ready for bed. The song was a slower one about taking the candle in your soul and going out to light your world. While the music played, I looked out into the hallway and saw my mom in her pajamas and my dad in his work uniform, ready for the night shift. They were slow dancing in the dark, and I don’t even think they saw me watching them. That’s the kind of love I want to share, the kind that I want to have someday, and the kind that I want to leave behind.