This I Believe

Charissa - Kent, Washington
Entered on April 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose
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I don’t remember when it occurred to me that life was more complicated than I’d once thought. Sometime amid the chaos of junior high, I realized that just getting by wasn’t enough to keep me happy. I began to wonder exactly what it was that I believed about life. Was there a reason I ended up here? It was a daunting question, but one I have been striving to answer ever since.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are surrounded by beauty. It may be a grey, soggy, sort of beauty, but it is magnificent, nonetheless. No matter how many times I see it, I am always surprised by the sunrise– in fog, it gives the world an eerie glow. When the sky is clear, the sun sets it on fire as it stretches away over the trees, more vast than any ocean. The mountains rise up majestically and never fail to amaze me. Seeing the world outside my window reminds me that, as much as I might like to believe otherwise, I am very, very small.

Some would argue that, for this very reason, our actions are of little consequence to the world. But I believe in purpose. I believe that every one of us is here for a reason. Each of us is playing a role in a larger story, an epic tale even greater than we can imagine. We are all given unique gifts that we can use to make the world a better place.

I never liked the idea of destiny– to think that I can’t change my future is a terrifying prospect. It would be a bit like riding a train with no brakes and no headlights. The tracks wind away into dark, and even if the train is heading blindly into a cliff face, there is nothing I can do to change my course. Who could ever want that?

I realize, of course, that some things in life are beyond our control. We don’t decide where we’ll be born, or what family we will come into. Disasters strike and good things happen to people who never expected it. I feel that everything, good or bad, happens for a reason. It is important for us to think about what we are going to do with the circumstances before us, to learn from life’s highs and lows.

I believe that we all have the potential to be great, but whether or not we achieve that greatness is up to us. I’m not saying that we’re all meant to find the cure for cancer or eliminate world hunger. Great people don’t have to be famous or widely recognized. They are great simply because they are willing to do more than just survive. They are helping those in need, fighting for what they believe in, making beautiful music. They are changing the world, fulfilling their life’s purpose, simply by doing what they do best and living their lives to the fullest. What could be better than that?