This I Believe

Lisa - Lockport, New York
Entered on September 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This I Believe

It’s not always easy to define exactly what I believe. I believe in many things. I believe in love, in truth and honesty, in regret but also in forgiveness, in compassion, in a sense of humble pride, and the list goes on. It’s not practical to pinpoint one specific ideal or characteristic and sum it up as the epitome of my beliefs. Not one of these can stand alone; in some ways they are all related to one another and some how make up the complexities of me and my thoughts and emotions.

Growing up with a brother with emotional disabilities has taught me that love is one of the most fundamental and necessary parts of life, without which we are nothing. If my brother did not know love and could not recognize love, he would have but an empty shell of an existence, yet, because he is able to do so, he has allowed me to believe in a love like no other. He has shown me what the truest, purest, most honest love looks like. His love is not always pretty, it is never decorated to protect a hidden agenda, and it is never forced. His expression of love is without outside influences; it is simply an honest, uninhibited, untouched, undying love.

Through the truth and honesty of my brother’s love, I have also come to believe that these are genuine, fundamental qualities to have as an individual. I believe in being honest with yourself in order to recognize and accept your flaws for what they are. Next, I believe in being true to others but also having a genuine compassion to reveal the truth in the most honest but least hurtful way possible.

A compassionate person cares for another, takes on another’s burden as if it’s their own, and acts on their emotions to make positive changes. Physically and biologically my brother was bigger/older than I, however, his disability often masked that reality. At a very young age I learned that having compassion and the ability to forgive were not only good qualities to adopt, but, in my case, necessary for daily survival. To know where he was coming from, understanding his thoughts, and learn to interact with him in a way that made sense to him, it was important to become one with him. When he was hurt, I felt his pain, when he was sad, I was burdened by his tears, when he was lost, I could do nothing but help him find his way. Before long, the act of compassion no longer became a task; it’s a way of life, survival, and communication.

Finally, my brother has encouraged me to believe in forgiveness. I realized through all the ups and downs of having a brother like him, that we all have regrets, we all make mistakes, and we all want to be forgiven. Forgiving is loving enough to look past the offense. Forgiveness is choosing to get beyond your own pride and accept that, like yourself, not everyone is perfect. To forgive is not to forget but to accept that life has taken you through a struggle and hopefully given you the motivation to become a better person.

All in all, I guess what it is that I truly believe in is Jared. Despite his emotional boundaries and limitations, as we look at them from the world’s perspective, he has shown me and taught me some of the most important and true qualities of life. Many may look at Jared as a useless, disruptive, childish man, but I have had the pleasure of seeing what lies beneath his mysterious blue eyes and have come to know that loving, honest, compassionate, forgiving heart that is my brother.