This I Believe

Lauren - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Entered on July 18, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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A Different Sort of Open-mindedness: Beyond the Red Bows, Frankincense, & Myrrh

Every Christmas Eve when I was younger, I had Sugar Plum Fairies tap-dancing their intense Rockette numbers in my head while I tried in vain to sleep, impatiently awaiting Christmas morning. I would sit up all night imagining what could possibly be under the fir-green, pine-scented tree with the golden angel on top. After a couple attempts at going downstairs to open presents only to be sent back upstairs, I was finally allowed to come downstairs to begin the Christmas Day festivities. Before any presents were opened, my father would read the Christmas story as I listened in wide-eyed awe about Mary, Joseph, and little baby Jesus. I would wonder whether or not the hay from the manger scratched Jesus’ tender head, and ask my mother why she chose not to include frankincense and myrrh in her perfume collection. When we finished the scripture reading and opened wrapped presents with gigantic red bows, there was one gift that I could always count on: a Bible that taught me about the love of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the greatest legacy that I take from my religion is the idea of unconditional love for all people. Having gone to college and now embarking onto graduate school, I consider myself to be an open-minded thinker. Despite the fact that some acquaintances may deem my Christianity “out of date,” intolerant, or not trendy enough; I see nothing “out of date” about exhibiting unconditional love.

In college, my love for all things different only flourished even more. ‘ I’ve laughed through Bollywood movies with Indian friends, and learned to speak Spanish. I’ve traveled to the scorching mountains of Mexico as well as to industrialized Japan to learn the culture. My life has been enriched by all of these different people and experiences, and one of the greatest influences in my life who also espoused open-minded ideas was my favorite college professor: Dr. Truong Nguyen. He is a 55-year-old P.H.D. from Thailand who studied Comparative Religion at Harvard and reads Hindu literature during his leisure time. He views are opposite to mine, making him all the more interesting.

Aspiring to live a life of unconditional love has led me to meet interesting people, travel to exotic places, try new foods, and experience rich cultural traditions from all over. Who knew that loving others could lead to a life so fulfilling?