This I Believe

Robert - Cumming, Georgia
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, legacy
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A Belief in Something Intangible

Every day I wake up surrounded by the idea that power comes from how much money I can earn, popularity comes from what kind of clothes I am wearing, and finding a date is all centered on what kind of car I drive. The idea of what is truly meaningful seems to get lost in a sea of materialism. Sure, it’s great to make a lot of money, and yes, it’s also nice to be popular. However, it seems like we are trying to be noticed for all the wrong things. According to the dictionary, one definition of greatness is something that is “notable; remarkable; exceptionally outstanding.” I guess you could say that a nice car is outstanding, or having a lot of money is remarkable, but that kind of value isn’t something that gets remembered. The greatness that I am talking about is intangible, but it takes shape in people’s hearts. However, I strongly believe that everyone has the potential to do something grand. Everyone can do something notable, remarkable, and outstanding.

I guess my belief was stirred when my grandmother passed away. It was a terrible loss for me because my grandmother had always been such a beautiful person. After her death, I truly contemplated what it was that I would miss the most. I spent hour upon hour toiling with the thoughts and grief, but I was able to surmise that I would miss her influence on my family and me. After all, she was the cornerstone that everyone came to for guidance. She was the reason that her five children were able to grow up and start families. She was able to do all this because she understood and embraced the finer values of life. She shaped my belief of what greatness truly means. My grandmother was able to help me realize that there are far more things than money and power to believe in.

For example, when I am in a bad mood, I, like everyone else, look to my friends for guidance. True friends have that uncanny ability to cheer you up, or at least talk to you until you decide to cheer up. Friends truly embody greatness. In five or ten years, I won’t remember my friends by what kind of money they had growing up, and I certainly don’t care what kind of car they previously drove. On the contrary, I will find comfort in knowing that my friends were always awesome, they were always there for me when I needed them, and they always kept a smile on my face. I feel like these ideas are often taken for granted, but I also feel that people are always cognizant of them. I believe in the greatness of friendship because it has gotten me out of situations that money and material items could not.

Every morning, when I wake up, it doesn’t matter to me that I drive a 1999 Honda Accord or that I only make $7.30 an hour, but what does matter, what I am truly appreciative of, is that I can make people happy with every day that I am alive. This is the true definition of greatness; being able to make a difference where you live. It doesn’t change my life when I get a paycheck, but when people are kind to me it leaves something inside of me that I can’t explain. Greatness is contagious, and I hope everyone contracts and spreads it throughout their communities. Eventually our cars will break down, our money will no longer be of importance, and our clothes will go out of style. Our eulogies won’t be filled with nonsense about material possessions. Instead, they will be about the legacy of greatness we left behind and how it shaped and molded everyone we ever came into contact with.