This I Believe

Harold - Laplace, Louisiana
Entered on October 24, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

‘This I Believe’

It is a steamy summer day during rush hour traffic. Angry faced people are barely in control of their automobiles. As I begin to daydream about getting home, traffic suddenly stops. I can feel the frustration of the neighboring motorists as they choke the steering wheel with both hands. After forming a single file line, I slowly pass a woman with kids who is stalled in the left lane. The kids are vibrating in their seats as the mother expresses a look of distress. Once I pass her, I make a hard left into an empty parking lot. With his eyebrows raised, my brother asks, “What are you doing?”

“We are going to help this woman!” I reply. We set out on foot, dodging cars like two lost puppies. At the stalled vehicle, I tell the mother to put the shifter in neutral. We then push the heavy van across the road into the nearest parking lot. After the mother thanked me several times, the crisis is over and both parties are happy.

I would like people to remember me as an unselfish person. Although I’m not always perfect, life has taught me that it is better to be unselfish versus selfish. When I act this way, attitudes change. My unselfish acts create pieces of happiness for myself and others.

A second adventure of mine occurs regularly. Every third Friday I drive to my fathers’ house after work. There, the grass fears me. I manicure his yard like an artist painting a picture. As a ritual, my father interrupts my cutting by exclaiming, “You don’t have to cut the grass! It’s not that bad!” As usual, I ignore him and cut it anyway. His cancer has taken one of his lungs. Though his health is better, he is limited to little physical work. I feel happy knowing that I am helping in some way. My stepmother always thanks me because she knows he will try to cut the grass if I don’t. And, of course my father is thankful that he doesn’t have to worry about it. Happiness has been created once again.

A third adventure of mine also occurred more than once. We must step back in time to when I was a young adolescent in the place I grew up. I’m crouched at the end of my grandfathers’ roof. Peering over the edge, I see my grandfather on the ground beneath me. I have the garden hose in one hand and old rotten leaves in the other. As my wet shirt begins to stick to my chest, I can see progress in my work. The gutters are clearing and I am filthy with a smile on my face. From cleaning gutters to washing his car, I was always happy to lend a hand when I stopped to visit. My grandfather was proud of me and overwhelmingly thankful. Both of us became a little happier.

I will continue to escape from my own problems by helping someone else. It shows me how insignificant my troubles are. I feel needed and look forward to gestures of appreciation. Perhaps I am being selfish after all.