This I Believe

Collin - Athens, Georgia
Entered on March 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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In the summer before eighth grade a severe storm came into Watkinsville. My home was struck by lightning and the lightning caused a fire which destroyed the second story of the house, which held my room, my sister’s room, and a large storage area. My family was getting ready for dinner but made it out alive and with our dogs; however, my dad could not save my sister’s rabbits. According to the firefighters, my family was lucky to have been able to get out of the house; the firefighters were even lucky, because the flash fire was so hot that it nearly exploded my home.

I was scarred for life by this. Because of my young age, I was not emotionally prepared to deal with a house fire. The fire was terrifying for me, and once I realized that my one true safe place was not safe, it changed me.

My family was devastated, but was able to get along fine. My family stayed with friends for a few days, lived in a hotel room for a month, and lived in an apartment for two months before moving into our new home.

My family can easily say that life was harder for a year because of our phobia of fire, but I couldn’t have made it through this time without the support of our relatives, friends, or community helping us. I wasn’t grateful for things I received before, but when literally all of my possessions were gone, I was happy to even get clothes. My neighborhood brought my sister and I spare clothes, friends gave us a place to live and comforted us, and my family received donations from the community – even our dentist.

It surprises me how generous a community is towards their friends. This experience has shaped me into a different person that is grateful for the things I get. I believe it is important to give back to the world, to protect the world, and to spread kindness. If a community can reach out as much as it did to my family, the world can reach out to all the people in trouble.

It encourages me that because there are more problems arising in the world, there are even more people coming out to help. The most important trait our society can have is generosity because it expands to every thing a person does. A simple act of kindness can change the world.