This I Believe

Gardner - Gainesville, Georgia
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Finishing What I’ve Started

I believe in finishing what I’ve started, no matter how hard it is, or how difficult it is for me. I believe in having enough determination to do what needs to be done despite growing odds. I haven’t always believed this, however. Growing up, I was always something of a slacker. It didn’t matter what the job was, or how easy it was to do, I would always put it off until the last minute if I even did it at all. After all, it’s easier not to do a job than to actually do it. I had plenty of positive influences in my life to show me the value of doing otherwise. My mom, both my grandmothers, and even my father have always been hard workers. They say there’s a black sheep in every family. If that’s true, then I must be the one in mine!

When she was little, my maternal grandmother was the youngest person to be a solo passenger on a cross-country airplane flight. She was only five! Was she scared, nervous, or lonely? You bet she was! I can remember her telling me numerous times how brave everyone said she had to be to do that. She didn’t have to make that long, lonely journey all by herself, but she was determined to finish what she had started. Maybe I just felt like I had huge shoes to fill and that if I couldn’t be as wonderful as the rest of my family I should just hide myself away in a costume of mediocrity.

It has only been over the past five or so years while I’ve watched my mother fight a battle with cancer that I’ve realized the true meaning of determination. I’ve watched breast cancer slowly spread into her lungs, then her brain, and into her bones, back into her brain, her liver, and into many other parts of her body. Each time the doctor hands her the bad news, she takes it with steadfast determination to not let it get her down. Being ill hasn’t stopped her from doing anything she’s wanted to do. She continued to work until she just couldn’t. That hasn’t stopped her from getting the things done that she wants to do; she’s very active in her church, and she’s always on the go. My mom has taught me a lot throughout her illness, but most of all I’ve learned what it means to be determined enough to finish what you’ve started.

My mother has a lot of things left to do in life, and she’s determined enough that she’s not going to be done until all of those things are finished. All my slacking, all of my putting things off until later, all of my lack of hard work in the past can finally come to an end as I pay attention to the lesson my mother teaches me every day. Hard work and determination are the way to go. Doing what needs to be done may not always be easy, but the rewards are never-ending.