Life Is What You Make of It

Rachel - Bainbridge, Georgia
Entered on January 25, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, illness
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I am an eighteen year old, African American senior in high school, and as part of a daily routine my brother and I are dropped off at our schools. My day begins as any other person’s in school with the morning announcements. Half the class struggles to stay awake for the five minute bulletin, after all, school begins at eight o’clock in the morning. Sitting in my first block class, I prepare to listen to the announcements. Promptly at five passed eight, the announcements draw to a close with, “Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.” While many of my classmates think the advice is silly and unimportant, my brother’s life has taught me otherwise. I am now a firm believer, that no matter the situation, the power lies within me to choose the outcome.

After the ringing of the tardy bell, the class began to settle down; my mind wondered back to my brother’s first crisis. My family is dispersed all over the house. My brother, who was two years old at the time, sat attentively in the recliner watching a favorite Disney movie. My parents were in their room, although my mom faithfully checks the supper she prepared every five minutes. I lay carefree across my bed as I listened to some of the latest hits. Unaware of the conversations being held in the other room, I am frightened by a loud shrill coming from the living room. My brother is having a severe sickle cell crisis. He suffers from a chronic illness that is prominent in African Americans, Sickle Cell Disease, and a painful and deadly disease. I am always afraid for his life, and because of this I am very protective of him. Younger, his way of thinking is so different from mine; he is strong and is determined. He vows not to let the disease control his life even though it is a part of his life. He has been in the hospital twice in his short life and always manages to assure others that “this too shall pass”.

His experience with the disease has been a living testimony in my life. I have learned very concretely in the last ten years, that it is not what happens to you but how you react that makes the difference. Thanks to the wisdom of my brother, I believe I have control over my life.