This I Believe

Gretchen - Richmond, Kentucky
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in memories, I believe in love, I believe in family. One day around 3:00pm, I was sleeping in my dorm room because EKU had their tailgating for their football game, and I had been up all day. I woke up from the ringing of my cell phone. I looked at it, there was about 8 missed calls. I have no idea how I slept through that, but I did. My mom had called me 4 times. When I receive that many calls, I listen to my voicemail first, so I know if I should call my mom back or not. Usually when she calls me that many times, it isn’t a nice conversation! However, the voicemail was from my friend Emily. “Hey Gretch, I was just seeing if you and your family were alright, I heard your house had burned down.” As soon as I heard that, I hung up the phone and jumped out of bed. I called my dad and he told me the bad news. He said my little sister, who is 16, and her friend, were in the living room when the back of the house was on fire, and they didn’t even know. The neighbor came running over and got them out of the house. No one was hurt, and that’s about all my dad could tell me. He was unaware of how the fire started at this point. Along with the feeling of sadness, there was a great deal of anger inside me, too. I was upset that no one had called me earlier in the day. My dad reassured me that I had been drinking all day and he didn’t want me to do anything stupid. For instance, they were worried I would drive home intoxicated, which I most likely would have done.

Everyday after the fire has been a struggle for my family and I. We’ve experienced mixed emotions towards God and other people. It was hard on me, especially being away at college. It is hard being away from home, yet not having a home. Things that were worked hard for since the 5th grade, are gone.

A couple weeks ago, I got a text message from my ex boyfriend of 4 years. It said he needed me and that some things were going on in his life and that he couldn’t handle himself. As we talked, I soon found out that his mom got rushed to the hospital because the brain tumor in her head was making her not able to function correctly. I asked myself, how much worse can this kid have it? He had to put himself through college with no help from anyone, his dad was never around, he took care of his mom his whole life, and now this. It came to me. I was actually feeling sorry for someone else rather than myself in the longest time. I sat for the longest time thanking God for everything that I do still have, instead of punishing him for the things I’ve lost. At least I can say my dad cares about me, and my mom isn’t dying of cancer. Yes, that house has memories, it has my past. I’ve come to realize this is the present and I still have room for the future. An object does not make my family, the people in it do, and I am so grateful to have every one of them still.