This I Believe

Nathaniel - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Entered on March 20, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, hope, purpose
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I believe life is precious. Life is in fact so precious that it takes a diligent and concentrated effort just to end a life, and many times all that effort only impedes the progress of the life you sought to end in the first place. I believe there is a profound truth to take away from that idea, that life is more precious than any of us even know now, or may know during our lifetime.

I learned this lesson gardening. I had a host of things to do one spring morning, wash the dishes, read for school, find a summer job, manage my finances. Yet amongst all these urgent things the task I chose was to complete a vegetable garden I had set out to build last fall but my project was abruptly curtailed by the onset of winter.

I grabbed my gardening tools and set out to turn over the soil and kill the unsightly weeds so the garden would be ready for planting. As I made my way flipping over the soil I wondered if this would really stop the weeds from returning, I knew it wouldn’t they would put up a fight to stay alive.

An hour later, I finished and covered the garden with a tarp. The wind blew the tarp all over the place and I scrambled back and forth to tack it down. I stood and examined my work, the garden was neatly covered, no weeds in sight. I was finished for the day without even breaking a sweat. It didn’t take much work, but hundreds of weeds died that day by my hand. I thought about how easy the garden tools had made the task, picking each weed out would have taken countless hours, and caused an even worse backache.

This event made me realize how easy it is to take a life, the pull of a trigger or the injection of a needle will do it. Both instances are the product of countless hours of research and experimentation by individuals who may have devoted their entire lives to such works. Sadly, we often seen the unfortunate benefit of that work and never so much as slow our efforts to maintain our own lives, and pay the bills, make sure our family is fed, or save some extra money for that trip to Florida.

I devoted one hour of my life to ending the lives of a few hundred weeds. Weeds are the lowest of the low in plant life, ignored and hated by almost all gardeners. I wonder what would have happened if I had exerted the same effort in cultivating those weeds, perhaps something amazing, perhaps nothing at all. Either way, the weeds I killed that spring morning were precious and hardly put up a fight to stop me. I believe our lives are much more precious, and we should fight to hold onto the life we have, whether we are society’s most beautiful flower, or its most dreaded weed.