This I Believe

Mary Abigail - Columbus, Indiana
Entered on September 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Look on the bright side.

It’s often hard to be optimistic. It’s easy to complain, to take things for granted, to blind yourself from the beauty. I have never experienced any real devastation, so my words seem meaningless and hypocritical. But I have learned from others; I have seen their ability to still be happy when their world is falling apart.

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy,” Anne Frank once wrote. I read The Diary of Anne Frank a few years back, and I was just amazed by how she was still able to be cheerful with all that was happening to her. I have never been through anything like that, and it’s improbable that I ever will. I realized that I was just a spoiled and ungrateful brat, but it didn’t really hit me until I met Sam.

I first became friends with Sam in middle school. Funnily enough, it was only out of necessity that we started talking to each other; she was the only one I knew beforehand and vice versa. I had no idea she’d become the best friend I’ve never had and that she would change me so much. She has been through unbelievable pain in her life, and she doesn’t have the leisure of security and predictability like I do. She’s never truly settled, and she has no control over that. And yet, she still has a smile on her face and continues to be selfless, caring more about others than herself. What’s sad is that she doesn’t have the worst of it. She has told me of people who have gone through worse. I remember her telling me about a friend of hers whose relative molested her. No one believed her when she reported it, so she has to go back every year, just to be touched again.

The worst I have gone through was an end-of-year project. It was unbelievably stressful, and many would have agreed with me. Compared to what others have gone through, however, that’s nothing. I hated it all, but I kept my blessings in sight and I was able to look on the bright side. “I have friends and family, my ears still give me the ability to listen to awesome music, Twinkies and singing birds are still in existence, and on and on….” In the end, it all worked out, and I felt great. The fact that it was difficult and I survived everything made it that much more worth it.

I’ve been friends with Sami for about two years now, and she continues to make me a better person. That project was bad, but I know there is so much more to life than that, there’s so much more that could happen. I also know that there’s good in everything if you look hard enough. Count your blessings; there are more than you think. Life is already hard enough, so you might as well stay positive. It’s easier.