This I Believe

Aubrey - Seminole, Oklahoma
Entered on September 6, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, hope, setbacks

I believe in the spirit of optimism…

A great band by the name of “Bon Jovie” once sang “It’s my life, and it’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. I just wanna live while I’m alive.” I’m certain that part of this songs success is due to the fact that everyday people can relate to the song on a personal level. I believe that life must be lived; after all, we only have one life to live in the first place.

One of life’s greatest lessons is to push on through the hard times in order to find the joy. It was a lesson I learned at a young age. As a child, my parents divorced. No, it wasn’t that they had “grown apart”, nor had they found new love. They were driven apart by a sickness. My father had a disease with no scientific name, nor any cure. It was a disease that destroyed a marriage of four years. It was a disease that estranged a father from his daughter for sixteen and a half years. My father had gone mad. He left my mother and me with no money or food. All we had were the clothes on our backs and the little cash my mother had. The trials and hearings that followed are a blur in my memory, but one thing I will never forget is how my Mother pushed through. She never once allowed us to dwell on the pessimistic side. She always told me to find the bright side of things, and hold on to them as tight as I possibly could.

It’s something that has stuck with me ever since. Instead of dwelling on the fact that we had been left penniless, my mother always reminded me that we were never alone. When we were “down on our luck”, as the cliché goes, we found ourselves surrounded by friends and family who gladly opened there homes to us in our time of need. We never stopped living our lives. And despite of the conditions, my mother found someone else. He was a good friend of my mother’s; he offered us shelter, protection, and food. In his small apartment, he and my mother formed a family unit; my mother, Mike, his daughter Amy, and me. When Amy left to live with her mother in Maryland, Mike found an outlet for his fatherly affections in me. And so life went on.

I believe that good can come from any and all sorts of evil. So the years flew by, and out of that seed of misfortune, a family blossomed. What had started as my mother, Mike, and me, soon became my Mom, my Dad and a new little brother and sister. We moved around, and finally settled down in the boondocks of a small town. Birthdays came and went; as did Christmases, New Years’, Father’s Day’s. And the past stayed in the Past. On the eve of my seventeenth birthday, my mom received a disturbing phone call. It seemed that after all the missed birthdays and holidays, the Past was back. It was my biological father, wanting to lay claim to what he felt were his rights as a “father”. He told my mom he wanted a relationship with me. When I decided I didn’t want that anymore, he began harassing my parents, blaming them for my disinterest in a relationship with him. And this nightmare continued for a solid month.

But I believe that life must continue. After we took the proper legal actions, the nightmare finally simmered down and normal life resumed. But through it all I remembered that it was my life, and I had to keep going, no matter hoe badly I wanted to break and give up. I had a duty, to my family as well as to myself, to find my piece of joy and hold fast. And so I kept in mind all the good surrounding me every day of my life.

I believe that people can over come seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It was just a few months ago that I myself over came what I thought I would never get over. For most of my child hood I felt nothing but pure, raw hatred for the man they call my father. After he called, I realized that, though what he had done was undoubtedly wrong by all accounts, that he had grown and changed since that time. I saw that he was a human, just like me, trying to keep living life, and trying to be the best person he was able to be.

My story is not uncommon. In fact, it is one I’m sure millions of people across the world share with me. But through my story, I have learned valuable life lessons. It has given me something to believe in. it has taught me to be forgiving of others short comings, and to always look for the silver lining. I believe that, to its fullest extent, and through all the rough times, life must be lived. I believe in the spirit of optimism.