This I Believe

Anne - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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This I REALLY Believe

When my English teacher assigned us this essay, I was excited to finally be able to express myself, to make my “story” known to the world. This was it! My moment to reach out and change the lives of people everywhere with my wisdom and knowledge of my seventeen years of existence. 500 words? It would take 5000, at least! A thousand thoughts swirled in my mind; I had tales of heartbreak and pain, uplifting stories of friendship and love, accounts of truth and beauty in everyday life. I’ve always wanted to write a book, a day–in-the-life kind of memoir, and this was my chance to start; for the world to see who I really was.

But wait…

What DO I believe?

I know I have beliefs. If I didn’t have beliefs, I wouldn’t be here, standing, breathing, living. Belief is the thing that keeps us flying when we should have crashed, that gives us hope for a better day. As one of my favorite characters, Shepherd Book, said in the movie Serenity, “I don’t care what you believe in, just believe in it.”

But what do I believe in? What one idea can I express, what one event or story do I have to tell? What started off as an easy grade in English turned into sleepless nights of wondering what I had to share with the world. Or if I actually had anything to share at all.

And then it hit me.

I believe in This I Believe.

I believe in the stories that every one of us has to share, and the strength it creates between two complete strangers. It is incredible what one person can do, without even realizing it. You have no idea who is going to read the stories you post or publish. By recounting one story in your life, you can touch countless others who have been through the same scenario, and give them hope for their future. You can open someone’s eyes to a truth, and change their way of thinking.

As I read through other stories on the website, some made me laugh, several actually brought tears to my eyes, and all of them made me think. About the importance of kindness, of respect, or acceptance, and getting by from day to day. About anything, and everything in this world. And I believe that that’s what we’re all here for. We’re all here to learn from each other, and to share what we’ve learned. In the exchanging of beliefs and knowledge, we bring the world closer together.

I believe in the war veteran preaching peace.

I believe in the immigrant in her search for equality.

In the man who believes in doing what is right,

and the rebel who tells us to do whatever we want.

I believe in you.

And I believe in me.

This I really, truly, believe.