This I Believe

Kenan - Plano, Texas
Entered on March 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death
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Dying to Live

I believe in death. Ok, now that I have your attention, I will clarify what I mean. I am not talking about the casket-pallbearer-Aunt Jane’s funeral potatoes kind of death; the death of the body. I mean death; those little instances in life that break us on the inside. They are the weeds and thorns that annoyingly take up space in a flower garden. We humans should be given way more credit than any cat out there, because we have well over nine lives, I believe. I remember the first time I died. I was about 6 and y Dad told me about a young girl who was kidnapped and killed one day in a nearby city and that I was no longer allowed to walk alone to my best friend’s house down the block. I could not believe it; who could let this happen? Why wasn’t the world fair and happy the way I had always thought it to have been? I guess sometimes bad things happen to good little girls and there is not anything I can do about it. Death of innocence. I have lived a thousand times and died a thousand times, it seems. Every time I get pulled over for speeding and get thrust back into reality with the rest of the over zealous lead-feet of the highways is like seeing light that was always there but I had never bothered to look at before. The death of pride; me believing that I am exempt from the laws. Every time I fail at something is a requiem for the hope I have built up in my heart that gets shattered in about 2 seconds like the cheapest glass. Every time I go home for Christmas and see my family for the first time in months; another death knowing that Santa doesn’t visit grown-up kids, and in a few days I’ll be back on a plane to start another wheel of classes and textbook reading marathons and months of not sleeping. Death of dependence on the people who raised me. But, I have come to understand why death is so necessary in our lives. It is only when your back is up against a wall, only when you are gasping for breath and clinging to the last frail strings of life that you find that without these deaths, the life that replaces them could not be possible. Maybe Dad has to walk with me now to my best friend’s house down the block; but at least I won’t be the one who doesn’t come home for dinner and ends up on the evening news. Maybe dying every once in a while makes me know that I am human. Yes, the garden has weeds and prickly thorns, but it also has flowers. Beautiful ones that we can only experience if we are willing to walk through the weedy, thorny mess to get to them.