“Believe, Love, Trust, and Live”

Alice - brookline, Massachusetts
Entered on September 22, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I’m not a particularly religious person. When asked, I say that I’m a conservative Jew. I go to synagogue on high holidays, and I keep kosher most of the time. Though I may not completely believe in God, per se, I do think there’s someone watching over me and everyone else. There may not be a heaven, but there have been so many miracle situations that there can’t not be someone or something that cares for us. I believe in trusting, believing, and loving life.

When I was about eight or nine years old, I flew to Houston with my mother and her parents to see my aunt. It was my mom’s sister’s fiftieth birthday, and I wasn’t going to miss it for anything. The trip was fantastic. The week in May was balmy and beautiful. On my aunt’s birthday, we went to her friend’s house for the party. It was pouring rain, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. My mother left the next day so as not to miss work too much, and I stayed along with my grandparents for a few extra days. Everything was going great. We got to the airport with time to spare, and even got on the plane on time. I was translated all the while for my grandparents whenever there was an announcement. When I was finding our seats on the plane, I couldn’t help but feel nervous, seeing as this was my first time without my parents. As I was approaching our seats, I saw three Hasidic Jewish men praying vigorously in the back. I smiled to myself and could feel my spirits lifted. As I said, I’m not very religious, but I felt as though nothing could go wrong if we had a religious person praying for not only his safety, but all of ours. As I thought this, my Grandmother leaned over to me and whispered, “Now I’m sure that everything will be all right. We have Him on our side.” My grandmother is not religious at all, but obviously this had the same effect on her. We waited in the plane for nearly an hour and a half and finally an announcement came on. Apparently, something was wrong with the plane, and therefore everyone needed to get out. I still get chills thinking if they hadn’t found the problem and we had taken off. What would have happened? We were accommodated for one night and took the next plane home in the morning. I remember there was a lot of turbulence and I was quaking on the inside, but on the outside, I was holding a strong demeanor for my nervous grandparents. They kept asking me what was happening or when the trouble would stop. I looked around for an attendant and saw the same three men from the day before, bent in prayer. I turned and smiled to my grandmother. “Don’t worry babushka. We have Him on our side.” She nodded and smiled seeing the men praying at their seats. We arrived home on time and just missed the traffic. Our journey was smooth.

I know that my ‘miracle’ isn’t so miraculous, and that there are probably much more exciting tales floating around, but this experience taught me to trust and believe; to put a positive face on every situation or look for the silver lining. I recently read a poem in my English class, and it seems to describe what I believe. I believe in Loving, trusting, and believing in life. Your soul thrives on that, and as long as you have your soul, you are alive. I believe that every time you don’t trust life, believe in life, or love life, a part of your soul diminishes. A man is alive as long as his soul is alive. A man dies as his soul dies. Love, trust, believe, and you will live.

How much does a man live, after all?

Does he live a thousand days, or one only?

For a week, or for several centuries?

How long does a man spend dying?

What does it mean to say “for ever”?

-Pablo Neruda