This I Believe

Heidi - Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Entered on May 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the power of human resilience.

At least once a week, something goes wrong that makes me want to just give up. I start wondering why anyone would want to be my friend, how I would ever manage to make a living and get by, and what my family must think of me for all the times I have fallen flat out on my face.

Then I start writing. I write about how sad I am, how there is no way out of this rut, and how I am doomed into a life of failure.

I write about how I just want to disappear, like a star that just blinks out. But then I think about how selfish that thought is and how much it would hurt those who I love if I just disappeared.

My heart whispers, “Leaving is not an option, you are valued and you have to stay here whether you like it or not. Quitting is the ultimate sin.”

Then I think about Christianity – and my lack of total belief in it. According to the Bible, my Taoist grandfather who died two years ago is burning in Hell right now. Would I enjoy being in heaven without him?

Moreover, if there is one gracious God, then why would he split up friends and loved ones, condemning some to burn in Hell while others may enjoy lives of luxury in his palace?

I recall the existence of other religions outside of my little bubble of culture – religions that people believe wholeheartedly but seem so foreign to me. Perhaps religion itself is just a concept…

My mind wanders back to humanism – the “whatever floats your boat” approach to religion. The concept seems valid, but if the whole purpose to life is to make life better for other people, then so what? I consume resources. I cause problems. Is there any point to existence at all?

“Boo!” I spin around. My friend stands behind me, laughing, with sparkling eyes. “I scared you, didn’t I?” Her eyes tell me she values me, she is happy that I am here, and the emptiness I felt inside begins to fade away.

I pack up, and we leave, but as the classroom lights turn off, the things I wrote came back to me.

“No, you have some amount of control. You can prevent yourself from making the same mistakes next time.”