This I Believe

Brian - Bettendorf, Iowa
Entered on September 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem
  • 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 several things. The first of these is the power of music. The second is more serious: the fragility of life and making the best of every day.

Both of my parents were passionate with their music. My father sang and played trombone in high school. My mother also sang but played flute, piano, and cello. Although they did not know it at the time, they even sang in an All-State Chorus together. My mother was the one person in our family that was the most involved in music. She graduated with her masters in music, and taught a private studio through our house. Students came to her seeking lessons in voice, piano, and even cello. As I heard each of these students come into our house for their lessons, I always loved hearing that music and how it had touched each of their lives, from the youngest students, only five years old, to the oldest, in their forties. My mom loved the idea that she was taking her musical knowledge and spreading it to these people, and she hoped that someday they could do the same. One person teaching ten people, then each of these ten people teaching ten more.

I certainly felt my parents’ musical influence and am involved in many music classed and play multiple instruments. My experience with the power of music comes whenever I perform in front of people. It doesn’t matter if I’m by myself or with a group of many people. I try and think of that the audience is thinking about as they hear the music. Depending on the music, they tap their feet, hum along if they know the tune, and possibly cry if they are touched in such a profound way.

I have most certainly felt the effect of life’s fragility. My family and I recently suffered the loss of my mother to a sudden and unexpected accident. We found ourselves almost lost, reeling through disbelif and pain. Before she passed, she had played at a wedding, one of her favorite gigs. After the wedding ceremony, many people complimented her on how beautiful the music was and what a wonderful job she had done. When we got back home, we had a simple summer meal and enjoyed people in our neighborhood breaking out leftover fireworks from the fourth. Feeling tired, she went to bed and passed during the night. Personally, experiencing one of the best days in my life followed by the absolute worst was too much. My whole family and I were caught off guard.

My family and I were most certainly not the only ones who experience a loss similar to this. In the few weeks that followed my mom’s passing, we recieved hundreds of cards in the mail from people across the U.S. expressing their deepest sympathy. Many of the cards even expressed sympathy from other people who had suddenly lost an immediate family member. During this entire time is when I formed the belief that life in itself is completely uncertain and more fragile than most people might think. Prior to my mom’s passing, I would see stories of accidents happing across the U.S. and even the world and think, “Wow, that’s too bad.” But that’s it. Now, I see things on the news and I think of how people all around the world are experiecing what my family and I can now attest to. I even recently had a friend who lost her father in a sudden road accident. After this incident, I suddenly found myself in the position of helper instead of the person needing help.

My mom always tried to look on the positive side of things. Every negative aspect of life held a more innocent and positive underbelly to her. When my friend’s father passed, I realized that I was now living a perfect example of my mom’s teaching. Because of her passing, I knew the many things that helped me out the best. I was then able to use these experiences to help my friend in her time of grief.

The way my mom tought of life is in my opinion the perfect way to live out each day. You must make the best of each moment and see beyond the obvious. It became obvious to me that the power of music helped relieve my mind and soothe my pain. So in the meantime, I’ll be doing the best I can: playing my music without end and making the best of each day while keeping the fragility of life in mind.