Cindy - Connelly Springs, North Carolina
Entered on February 28, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, love
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This I Believe

As I sit back and listen to the rambunctious laughter, I can’t keep from smiling, I can’t stop this feeling of happiness, and I can’t complain. This loud laughter and happiness is coming from my oversized family. The moments I know that I will always cherish are the times when my family and I are congregated around a dining table, reminiscing and having uncontrollable outbursts of laughter. But there was a time when I distanced myself from these memorable moments. In the midst of finding my maturity, I had felt this void. Confused, I filled a void with a young love that led to deceit, emotional distress, and neglect to my family.

The night before my cousins, who I had grown up with, moved to Missouri, we had built a bonfire that took at least ten boys to build. Again, it was time for another meeting of reminiscing. As my family huddled around the bonfire, receiving its warmth, I was sitting in my cold, secluded car charging my cell phone so that “my love” could frequently call and check up on me. Instead of sharing a blanket with my cousin around the bonfire, I fabricated excuses for myself, making it seem as if it was my family’s fault that I was having an awful time. I created a negative atmosphere for myself, blaming others for making “him” mad at me. I resented and avoided my family while this boy controlled my life, yet I still received the same love and care from my family.

When I realized that this young love wasn’t filling the void that I felt inside, it took a massive amount of strength to let him go. It took soul searching and strength to push him away. I thought that it would take just as much effort to get involved with my family again. But it didn’t. Their arms were open wider than before to accept me as if nothing had ever happened. When I was in my most vulnerable state, where every mistake I had made was staring me in the face, when there was an epiphany of how foolishly I was living my life, my family stood near me and embraced me with their comfort and concerns. Then I realized that the void I had been feeling was the absence of true happiness. In the midst of looking for true happiness, I found it in the smiles and laughter of my family. I believe that the love of a family is unconditional.