This I Believe

Frank - Dade City, Florida
Entered on April 16, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: gratitude, love


I believe that every man, woman and child is a miracle. Whoever we are, wherever we live, whatever our race or nation, we are each unique. As far as I know, I have never lived before, I will never live again. This is my time.

Thirty-three years ago, at the conclusion of an historical society meeting, I got up my nerve and asked an attractive young woman for a date. Courteously, but to my embarrassment, she declined – she was married. “But,” she said, “I have a sister who might like to go out. She’s a nurse, a teacher. She’s been a nun for ten years, has just returned to civilian life. She lives in Gainesville. Her name is Dale Anne.”

I gave this a few days thought – a nun, ninety miles away. Well, I decided, it’s worth a try. We met, had dinner. Three weeks later we were married. We are still married, have two grown daughters. If I had not approached her sister, had not

reached Dale Anne when I called, if we had not been attracted to each other? Aside from never knowing the happiness we have experienced with one another, our beloved daughters, Amie and Jodi, would never, in all of time, have been born; their untold descendants would never live.

For forty thousand years humans have walked the earth, the equivalent of two thousand generations. In order for me to be born, a certain man and a certain woman in each of those generations, strangers when they met, like Dale Anne and I, had to conceive a child at an exact moment. And at each conception, only chance determined that one egg of two and one sperm from thousands would join. The resulting child, in its time, two decades or so later, had to meet a specific someone and, together, conceive a child. If, during those forty thousand years, one of those couples had not met, their specific egg and sperm had not joined at the precise moment that they did, I could not have had this incredible opportunity to live a human life. There would still be as many people of course, but I would not be among them. The chances were at least a million to one, and this is my chance.

So when my troubles come, when I’ve lost the way, when simply living is so hard, I have learned to look back on the loving chance taken, the care given to their child by two thousand couples, four thousand people, each of them my direct ancestors, in order that I might live. It was chance, of course, but it was my chance. Measured by the odds against my being born, any problem can be solved, any pain endured, any loss overcome.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get a few more years to play my part in the human parade. I have been given the privilege of living. I believe it is my responsibility to do the best I can to fulfill the miracle that is my life.