This I Believe

Ellen - Wheaton, Illinois
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Broken English

It’s the cherry placed strategically atop the mass of sprinkles on an ice cream sundae. It’s the compliment on a “hand me down” sweater. It’s the opening of the door for a complete stranger. It’s the spelling of a name according to a five-year old. It’s the mutual tear shed during the feature of Sleepless in Seattle. It’s the little things that are often ignored, yet capable of capturing and revealing the soft and finest sides of humanity.

The crimson red vine crept from corner to corner, edge to edge filling the card’s empty cream space. Among the wandering vines embedded a single morning glory, attracting a nearby dragonfly. The illustration on the card, although beautifully drawn and successful in portraying the essence of nature, only served as a drum roll to the note concealed inside.

I was given the get well card by our family friend Abel from China after he heard of my fractured arm. Whether it was Abel’s witty remarks or broken English, he always managed to put a smile on my face. His note inside the card, which probably took little or no effort, exemplifies his assuring cheer. It read:

Dearest Ellen,

It’s Abel…again. Well, sorry to hear your accident yesterday and the whole world glad that you’re okay… “Knock wood.” Please take care of yourself, for your dad, for your mom, for me, and for the whole world. Okay?


Brother Abel

P.S. Make sure its brother, not uncle.

The note, crafted with short sweet sentences, made me realize that the smallest deeds can have the greatest impact. Although trivial to some, the note managed to swing my sour mood around.

The important habit of saying “please” and “thank you,” or occasional compliments can truly make an impression on a person’s life. Abel’s simple note, which probably took a mere five minutes to write, had the power not only to transform my mood but also to strengthen our relationship, improve my perception of him as a friend, and reveal the significance of saying “please” and “thank you.”

As we mature, we begin to realize that the situations of our lives are unknown to the world. In short, the world does not revolve around us. For this reason, the small attempts of others to lift us up from our downs are what make an everlasting difference on our lives.