This I Believe

francisco - 60525, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Being a Light in the Darkness

I believe in optimism, even in the darkest of situations. All of life’s problems can be washed effortlessly away by life’s simple pleasures: smelling the flowers, enjoying a fresh cup of coffee, singing in the shower, and dancing in the rain. No conflict will get the best of you if you don’t acknowledge its existence. One may say that it is too hard to avoid life’s surrounding troubles, and I understand that, because I used to think the same way.

My view on life changed this summer when I met a girl who was easily the happiest girl you could ever meet. She loved life, loved God, and always looked for the good in others. With a joyous spirit, she shared with me her views on life. None of which were negative. At the time, she seemed so surreal to me. We would ask each other questions and one day I asked her, “If there was one thing you could change about yourself what would it be?” She paused a moment and then answered, “Nothing”. I was stunned and amazed. I had never heard a girl say that she wouldn’t change herself.

I had grown a deep friendship with this girl and one night she shared a story with me and some others for the very first time. She told us that she used to go jogging with her friend and this guy every week. One night, it was just her and this guy. As they headed home they would cut through a park to get back, and the guy took her and raped her.

I was shocked and at the same time ashamed. Here I was, wallowing in my pity, and here was this girl who had gone through the most awful of horrors and still managed to keep a smile on her face from day to day.

In the words of Rodger Miller, “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet”. Today when I walk down the plain, boring, lonely halls of high school I will force a smile with every working nerve in my body so that I may remain a dove among crows, a star in the night sky, and an ember in a cave. I dare you to do it too. Push yourself to the point where you look ridiculous and kids make fun of you. Just shrug it off because life is too short to be basking in grief. The glass is half full. Screw the drama and screw the pain. Just keep swimming. Who knows? Maybe your small sign of glee will single-handedly reverse the gloom of another one’s day. When life gives you lemons make lemonade. Anticipate great things. Believe in miracles. Living on hope is better than not living at all. In morbid situations say “Hey, it could be worse” which almost certainly cues the rain, but hey, the sun will come out tomorrow, right?