This I Believe

Nancy - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

As a privileged American, I am often self-centered and focused on the needs, possible benefits, and consequences for myself, not always putting other people into consideration. I have recently had an experience that caused me to think differently, and made me realize that I’m a very lucky individual. I now understand that many people would crave to live my lifestyle, and would love to be under my life circumstances.

This past Thursday, February 22nd, I had an unfortunate and traumatic experience during my period 7/8 gym class. I was in the weight room, at the bench press station with my lifting partner. After I finished my twelve repetitions, I was ready to stand up and spot my partner. Without hesitation, my spotter relieved me of the 45-pound bar I had just been working out with, and grasped it firmly in her hands. Completely unintentionally, the heavy bar slipped from her hands and fell across my eye with an unnerving pain that I cannot quite recall. It was a horrifying experience, and for a few rigid moments, I wondered if I still had a face.

Afterward, I was taken to the nurse, to the doctor, and then to the Emergency Room. As I sat in the waiting room before my cat scan, an episode of Grey’s Anatomy was playing. Not being much of a TV watcher myself, the show was new to me. I watched, apprehensive and horrified, as the doctors’ friends dropped like flies from drowning and sickness. I also watched a man getting holes drilled into his head in order to allow oxygen to enter his brain. At that moment, the nurse came back into our room, and told us the news. There were no fractures, no brain damage was apparent, and there was no impairment to my vision. Aside from what they called a pretty severe “shiner,” my health was not at risk in any way.

Although my face looked beaten up, my eye was swollen, and was colored to match my magenta shirt, I felt lucky. Naturally, I first focused solely on how horrid I looked, what people would think when I walked through the halls the next day, and if I would still look like a colorful and exotic creature by the King of Hearts dance in only a week’s time.

As I reflect on the situation, however, I feel extremely grateful. What had happened to me could have caused a lot more damage than it did, and I feel blessed. Out of all of the lessons I have learned from this experience, one of them sticks out the most in my mind, isolated and illuminated. I believe in gratitude, and being thankful for my life as a whole. Compared to other people, my current condition is what they might yearn for beyond anything else. I lead a wonderful and privileged life, and I want to start living it to its fullest extent by helping others progress through their troublesome times.