This I Believe

Amber - Louisville/CO/80027, Colorado
Entered on December 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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“A life of forgiving”

Like many, I have become who I am because of past experiences. I have base a lot of my beliefs by things that I have gone through. There is one in particular that has really made me stand firm in this one thing: forgiveness. I do believe that in order to live a life that is genuine and of a sound mind, you must learn to do this thing called forgiveness. In my life, there have been many people that have let me down. But the one who has impacted my life the most by letting me down is my father. He left me before I was even born. It’s hard to say if he felt bad or not, and that’s why he kept coming back to see just my sister and I. He would say that he was going to change and be around more. As a young child I remember believing every word of it: I wanted a dad. This continued on for many more years. To my surprise, nothing had changed. He would only make promises to change, and still does to this day. My father has 9 children including my sister and I. Each one has been left with no father, and just a mother to raise them. Most of them turned out like you think they would: with a single mother working hard to provide and not being able to be there for them. Thankfully, my family was there for me. It consisted of my aunts, uncles, and my grandma. There aren’t even words to explain the agony I felt. It hurts to say that I am ashamed of my father, for he has never been a father to me. It was little things when I was younger. Through the years he continually let me down. I had never been so ashamed to be his daughter when one of my fellow class mates pulled out a newspaper not knowing that the mug shot was of my father. The article talked about a racially motivated attack on a CU Boulder student. Not many people know that he is my father. I had worked so hard to finally move on with my life and just forget about my past. When I saw him on the front page of the newspaper, all of my hidden wounds were re-opened. My life can’t be centered on my father’s mistakes. It made me angry that my feelings were controlled by another person’s actions. As time went on I had become so consumed with a hate toward my father, it had affected all other relationships with the ones that I loved. Robert Frost once said,” In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life; it goes on.” Finding myself longing to move on, I realized I needed to forgive. It was a hard process, but I’ve come to the conclusion that by forgiving him, I’ve never felt so free in my life. There’s this huge weight that has been lifted off of my shoulders. If there was one thing that I had to stand for, it would simply be the act of forgiving. “I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” –Helen Keller