Do You Believe?

Thomas - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Entered on February 18, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • 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 is it that keeps us going? What is it that makes life worth suffering through? Is it wealth or fame? Or perhaps education? Perhaps this is what some believe: that life is what it can give you. But, maybe this isn’t all there is to life. Have you ever woken up thinking that you wanted to have a horrible day? I haven’t, and on the contrary, I hope for my best day yet. There are several things that help me with this, and perhaps altruism is most important. It is the power of kindness, the warmth that it bestows on you, and the happiness that it grants you. But altruism coincides with another belief: that life is fair.

Just the other day, I was traveling around the city. I decided that I wanted to see how others felt about fairness, altruism’s duet. I invaded stores, I knocked door to door, and I even tapped on a Mercedes’ window at a stop light. Each time I asked the same question, and each time I received the same answer:

“Sir [Ma’am], is it you belief that life is fair?”

“Son, life is [both] unfair [and unkind], you will see.”

I very nearly gave up and despaired right there; everyone else had. But I didn’t… because life is fair! It just so happens that this idea also has a partner as well.

There is a saying that, “Heaven on Earth is Hell; Hell on Earth is Heaven”; this, I believe, is true- and a truth full of hope. When we die, do we really just spin into oblivion, like the flame of a candle? This I also believe is no. I believe that there is a Heaven, and I believe that there is a Hell. If you are good, but you suffer on earth, is Heaven not fair? But if you are cruel, unkind, and evil on earth, is Hell not also fair? I believe that life is both fair and just, that you just have to wait until death to see.

Therefore, I believe that altruism, fairness, and hope are life’s essence. I hope that one day I may give this hope to others; that even if it seems that life has left you far behind, there is always the pit stop…and the nitrous.

This I believe…is life.