This I Believe

Therese - New Haven, Indiana
Entered on October 23, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

One sunny late spring day as I was driving to a funeral visitation for a past coworker and friend, I observed many facets of life along the roadsides of this country we live in. When I finally arrived at the funeral home, reality smacked me right in the face and made me realize how fortunate my life is.

My friend Brent died at a young age of 37 from a horrible disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a very rare and incurable degenerative neurological disorder. His father and mother had lost their son and his two children had lost their father. I am still breathing, I am fortunate.

On my journey to this funeral, I first encountered a homeless man along a city street who was pushing a cart that had, more than likely, all of his worldly possessions in it. I wondered what brought him to this state in his life, did he have family members who cared about him, and will he ever be able to live a “normal” life again. I know that I have a roof over my head, family members that love me, and leading a rather ordinary life. I am fortunate.

While continuing my drive through town, I noticed a middle-aged man waiting at the bus stop who was rocking in a forward to backward motion repeatedly. I recognized that this man not only showed signs of a mental illness, but displayed several physical disabilities as well. I realized that this man had countless obstacles and challenges to confront when going from one place to another in his everyday living. Without having any disabilities, I simply walk over, enter my automobile, and drive away. I am fortunate.

As I approached a busy intersection during my drive, the vehicle directly in front of me was struck broadside by someone who made the decision to run a red light. Before I knew it, there were police, paramedics, and firefighters swirling around the scene of the accident. As I observed not only the physical injuries to these human beings, I quickly understood their fear and disbelieve of what they were experiencing unexpectedly. Even though I work in the insurance claim industry and listen to customer’s incidents on a daily basis, the witnessing of how quickly one’s life is altered, made me comprehend how fortunate I am that this occurrence did not happen to me.

When I have had a difficult day, my thoughts race back to the events of that sunny spring day, and I remind myself that I am truly fortunate to be able to experience life with minimal setbacks or tragedies.