This I Believe

Alexandria - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on December 3, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love
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I believe in the unity of people and their innate drive to love which facilitates that unity. No matter how different every individual is, there is a common thread that unites us all. We are human. Each person that inhabits this earth has a heart, a brain, and perhaps most important of all, a blank slate. It is our experiences that determine how compassionate that heart becomes, how wise that brain grows, and how we fill that blank slate.

At the impressionable age of 11, I spent an entire summer with my grandparents who lived in south Texas. I would watch my grandpa feed his cows, install water wells, and fix barbed wire fences. He worked long hours in the unforgiving Texas heat, and never tired. I would watch my grandma or Pama as I called her, clean the house, do the laundry, and cook 3 meals a day. They worked from sunrise to sunset, and most days even later than that.

My grandpa was like a well oiled machine; he ate breakfast, went to do a job, came back for lunch, and left again, then sure as clock work he’d be sitting at that table at 6 o’clock sharp, waiting for dinner. Grandpa was the machine, and Pama was the oil. “My work is never done,” she would always tell me as she rushed from chore to chore. I don’t know if she got her work ethic from him, or the other way around. They would bicker, boy did they bicker. One day after a disagreement, grandpa stomped out of the house and Pama muttered the usual, “He never appreciates anything.” Finally, I asked her, “Why don’t you let him cook the meals and do the laundry, so he can see what it’s like?” She smiled at me with that look that only a grandma can give, the one that gently says, “You’ve got a lot to learn.” Then she said, “Well, I figure ‘till death do us part’ is a longtime, so we might as well be dressed and fed while we’re waiting.” We both laughed so hard we cried, and when we had calmed down she continued, “Plus, loving him helps too.”

Although not able to fully comprehend how profound that simple answer was, looking back I realize now that the answer eluded me, not because I was too young, but merely because I over-analyzed it. The power of my grandma’s explanation lies solely in its simplicity. Regardless of how much they fought, she loved him; therefore she took care of him. Love is what brought, and kept them together.

Love has the capability to unite people. This emotion is what determines how compassionate our heart becomes, how wise our brain grows, and how we fill our blank slate. I see now that as long as love is emphasized, the possibility of unity is optimized. It is through love and love alone, that these 3 commonalities which every human shares can evolve to their most favorable potential.