This I Believe

Joanna - Palatine, Illinois
Entered on May 31, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in rainbows. I believe in hugs and hand holding. I believe in taking pictures. I believe in the smell of coffee. I believe in Slurpie runs and road trips. I believe in wishing on stars, dandelions, eyelashes and birthday candles. Most importantly, I believe in finding joy in simple things.

Life is moving so quickly, and everywhere I turn, I am told to think about my future. In especially hectic moments, I realize how caught up in the future I am and I always try to find some ordinary event to slow my life down. Living for the future is no way to spend a lifetime, and the only way to appreciate living is to notice the beauty of a normal life.

One afternoon, I had several of my friends over to help me decorate white boxes that would be filled with school supplies and sent to schools in Africa. We spent several hours covering cardboard with markers, construction paper and glitter, and in the middle of our project, my little sister ran into the room and screamed, “There’s a rainbow outside!” We dropped our crayons and glue and ran out the back door. To our surprise, there was not only one rainbow, but two bright rainbows proudly displaying every color of the spectrum. We grabbed hands and danced around my yard while the sky lightly drizzled. We sang and laughed until our stomachs hurt and then went back inside when the rainbows started to fade. A moment that only lasted ten minutes brought happiness to a group and created memories that won’t be forgotten.

I also experienced a similar moment while watching the play Wicked. During the last musical number before the end of the first act, I sat in my seat, gripping my program with my clenched hands, completely captivated in the moment. The character Elphaba is lifted into the air, and the combination of stage lights, music, different voices, character emotions and drama struck me as the beautiful thing I had ever seen. I didn’t even realize until the curtains closed that I was crying.

I still don’t know what exactly made me so emotional. Whatever the reason, I felt embarrassed by my emotions, until I saw that the British man sitting next to me was just as emotional. (Neither of us calmed down until he turned to me, all teary-eyed, and said, “Oh come now. Cheerio!”) The sight of a grown man crying proved to me that any person, any age, can be affected by a small event if the person is able to live in the moment. Any person can take the time to actually look up at a rainbow and realize the beauty in life.

I believe in strolls around town, playgrounds, and butterflies. I believe in pointless text messages and e-mails. I believe in Disney movies. I believe in watching the sun rise over the Jersey shore and set behind the Rocky Mountains. I believe in stopping and taking a deep breath. I believe in rainbows.