This I Believe

Jacqueline - Mukwonago, Wisconsin
Entered on February 12, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Simple Joys

I believe that the simple things in life make people happy and each day of their lives interesting. Every day of your life will be repetitive unless you see the small, simple gems of each and every day that sets it apart from every day already lived and every day to be lived. I must confess: I always believed that rich people who got everything they wanted were the happiest. But I now see that it’s those who don’t have everything who are the happiest. I think this is because they are forced to acknowledge and appreciate the little things in life, because that’s all they have. My eyes dawned upon this idea when I spent a seemingly ordinary Saturday doing, what I would later find to be, a life altering experience.

A few weeks ago, I made a trip to Kiwanis Manor (a nursing home), along with other members of my school’s National Art Honor Society, to make holiday crafts with the senior citizens. That morning I walked in not expecting to make anything more than a miniscule dent in their lives. By thinking this I was automatically anticipating that to occur and was surprised when the exact opposite happened. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a lively, smiley, sweet old lady that I paired up with to make a craft. I presented her with a board of sample crafts. Her eyes flicked over the array of festive snowmen, reindeer, and Santa Clauses. When I questioned her as to which project looked most appealing to her, she said she didn’t mind which one we made. I was in disbelief. She was so excited just to break out of her daily routine at the nursing home that she honestly didn’t mind what we did together. I started to think that maybe I was wrong about what I had been thinking earlier. Maybe this was a bigger deal than it seemed like to me at the moment.

Eventually we agreed upon making an adorable plush snowman. Her eyes watched in wonder as my hands created a replica of the winter friend. When we were all finished and I handed her the gift, she was grinning from ear to ear from excitement. I was stunned, and questioned how something as simple as a homemade craft had made her ecstatic.

That day, my eyes opened up to more than just the unforgettable impact that a kind gesture can create, but also something else. A new kind of art. Not the kind of art my art club had intended on creating that day: the art of twisting your imagination to create something out of a pile of art supplies. But rather the art of caring about others, enough to do a seemingly simple, but in fact difficult, task for them, in order to turn the folds of skin around their lips upward, into a smile.