This I Believe

lucas - westhampton beach, New York
Entered on September 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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How can you measure pain, sorrow or struggles? In life, we all climb our own mountain, battle our own tyrants, and attempt to conquer our personal conflicts that we struggle with on a day-to-day basis. And though it might sound horribly naïve of me, I believe that though incredibly different, all of our struggles are equally important and daunting to each of us.

A mother starves in Darfur. She makes every effort she can to not only find food for herself and for her family, but to stay alive from the impending genocide that is ravishing her country. She does not think of the future but only of the here and now, what will her next meal be? What will she have to do to keep her children safe? Will anybody help her? Is it even worth it to go on?

A mother in suburban America also can’t see the future. She has food, security, money, and luxuries that make a life for her that some would kill to have. She is living the “American Dream”. And yet, she faces her own crisis: depression. She is filled with regret—she lived a life of female domesticity. Who knows what she could’ve done; cured cancer? Become an actress? Written a novel? Fought for peace? All she has now is a husband she no longer loves and children who have moved on from her life to form their own families. Is their any point to going on?

A young man loses his hero, mentor, creator, and sole guardian—his father—in a tragic car accident. How can he go on, knowing the person in life he loves the most will never be with him again? How will he be able to cope with life’s struggles with no one their to guide him?

It seems awful to compare such contrasting situations but I think it is necessary to show 3 extremely different lives to emphasize what I believe. The point is that in life we are each randomly dealt our own deck of cards, our own hodgepodge of struggles and amenities. We cannot belittle one’s conflicts in life and say that ours’ are more important than another human beings. For that housewife her depression and her attempts to conquer it are all she knows and to her they are just as hard to deal with as the looming problem of hunger. It is easy to judge and say whose pain is worse, but we’ll never truly know because we’ll never be that person or feel their suffering.

For me, my current struggle is living away from home. I know a 6 hour distance doesn’t sound very hard, but being away from my parents, brothers, friends, the beaches and the places I love and know so well has proven to be one of the most difficult dilemmas I’ve ever faced. But, day-by-day, I find myself growing up and getting perspective; learning from my longing, maturing from the distance.

What I’ve learned is the only thing we can do is to be optimistic and look for the positives. Just recognize how lucky we are to have what we do in have in our lives, be it family, privileges, love, friendship or whatever else gets us through the day. And with this knowledge we can attempt to “tend to our own gardens” of life and try to help others through theirs.