This I Believe

parisa - marina del rey, California
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Finding the Good

I believe that although we do not always have control over what happens, we do have control over how we respond.

My father has always reminded me that we make things as simple or as difficult as we choose. This piece of advice lingers with me.

My mother passed away a few years ago; I was thirteen years old. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor but a few months before her death, and she was due to get radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Thinking back, I can remember that the thing she was most worried about was losing her precious golden hair—certainly responding to the news in a positive light. When we talked of the future, she would joke that I’d have to get married young and have kids so she’d be there to see it all. I couldn’t even imagine her not being there in 10 years to see it all.

Everything came and went so fast. It was the opening night of my show Les Miserables and I came home to discover that she’d had a seizure and been taken to the hospital. She died in the early hours of the next morning. When my father came home to tell us of the news, I could not and did not want to believe it. I was mad at myself for not being there with her, for not kissing her goodbye when I had left the house. It felt like a brick had hit me in the face: numb tears leaked down my cheek. For a while, things remained numb.

Looking back on this life-changing experience, I know that, looking ahead, I can face anything. If I can overcome that, and grow as a person—I can certainly recover from whatever brick life throws my way.

I truly believe that good always does come from bad. Obviously, it was hard finding this from my mother’s death—it took some time. Nevertheless, looking for that good made my life less difficult and easier to enjoy. I certainly learned to value the life around me and be thankful for all the good I was blessed with. This experience enabled me to step back and ask myself: does it really matter? All the petty and insignificant issues I let myself get involved with before were no longer important. Things like getting mad because I’ve just missed the bus and have to wait another fifteen minutes, throwing a hissy-fit because the hairdresser can’t seem to understand the words “just a trim” or simply missing the beginning of my favorite program due to stuffy traffic on the 405 freeway. If it does not matter, then I try to not let it get to me; life should not be wasted by focusing on the bad.

We tend to only cherish life in times of death. Despite what life throws at us, we have the power to control how happy we want to be. We have the power to always find the good.