This I Believe

Greg - Manchester, Missouri
Entered on May 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: hope, place, setbacks
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

What I truly believe is always changing, the perfect belief of one thing is always refined to another more pure belief. However, one belief that has stood the test of time is the necessity of optimism. “The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true.” This quote by James Branch Cabell outlines what it means to be an optimist. Optimism is the one thing you can run to when everything is taken away. This theory is tested when ever a crisis occurs.

“How you act during a crisis shows who really are.” This quote validates the worth of my belief, when my house caught on fire. This event, which was to be the most traumatic of my life, started on a Saturday afternoon, when suddenly a freak storm came out of no where and cast a blanket of rain all over St. Louis. I remember the wind was so magnificent, that leaves slammed against our windows, and had to be removed after the storm. Seeing across our street, only 20 feet away, was impossible, there was a cloak of water surrounding our house. Then, to top it all off, lightening struck our attack, igniting it. We were in our kitchen, as we heard the thunderous boom wreck our house. Suddenly, our neighbor ran across the street, opened our front door and started screaming at us, “Get out of the house! It’s on fire!” These eight words started my seven month nightmare.

So the next thing I know, I am standing in my neighbor’s driveway, watching my house burn as sirens roar up our street. The fire was halted, but the water that was pumped into our attic to stop it, caused more damage than the fire. This notion of taking one step forward and two steps backward became a reoccurring theme throughout the reconstruction.

It was then that I realized the one place that was safe to me was just taken away. As I walked through the desolate room filled with soggy insulation from the former ceiling, I though to myself, this used to be “my room,” and now it was just another empty room in a vacant house. This house was barely recognizable as “our house.” While my house in lay in ruin, I concluded the only thing to turn to was optimism. I always looked for the bright side on everything. Such as, I saw this mess as a way to learn some useful construction techniques. I learned how to put up dry wall, how to put a stain finish on wood, or how to install a hard wood floor, to name just a few. I would not let this incident bring me down. This way of thinking got me through the house ordeal and helped me keep my sanity. After exactly seven months and one week, we finally went home, and now “home” has so much more of a meaning than it ever did.