Rebecca - Malta, Ohio
Entered on January 12, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • 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.

“What goes around, comes around.”

“For every light, there is a shadow.”

These and like phrases carry slightly different meanings for different situations. But here I’m going to use them to illustrate one point – balance, be it the kind offered by karma, or that of light and shadow, is present and necessary in all things.

I believe that balance is the single most vital aspect of life and existence. It doesn’t just apply to physics [in which we all know that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction]. We see it in life in general – for example, most of the philosophical among us might agree that in order to truly live, we must face life’s reciprocal, death. We see it in the traits of people – charts on things like height and IQ distribution are symmetrical, identical on either side of the average. It is true that for every midget, there’s a giant, and that for every person with severe retardation, there is a genius.

Why is this important? Some say that if nothing negative ever happened, we would not appreciate the positives. But I take it a step further: I believe that if nothing negative ever happened, we wouldn’t have the positives. No one wants his or her child to be born mentally challenged, but if we somehow “cured” this condition [not to say it’s a sickness], I believe that it would effectively end the birth prodigious children. The same goes for our everyday lives – we’ve all had times when we’ve done everything just perfectly, and we still couldn’t avoid some sort of hardship. Well, I’m glad we can’t escape it. I don’t like feeling down any more than the next person, but if nothing bad ever jumped at me out of the blue, I find it unlikely that any blessings would, either.

It’s uncommon that anyone looks at hardship as one of the fundamentals of a happy life. But I feel that the things that bring us sadness are just as important as the things that bring us joy. I don’t enjoy hardships, but since I look at them as necessary things to deal with rather than things to avoid at all cost, when I’m going through one, it feels like just another item on my to-do list that I’m getting out of the way. I know that once I can just tackle the shadow, I can have my deserved time in the sunlight.

And that’s a nice feeling.