Bearing Witness to Hope

Elizabeth - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on April 9, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change
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I once had a Sunday school teacher who compared the relative positions on our faith journey to children on a playground. Let me explain. One day she showed a picture of children swinging, sliding, see-sawing, and asked us to pick one of the cartoon boys or girls to represent where we were in our own lives. I don’t remember exactly what I said then, but now, I’d say I’m the one climbing up the ladder, one foot on the rung, one foot hanging in the air, not quite sure where to step next. Some fog is clouding my view, and I know all too well that a misstep could land me flat on the ground. How scary it is to be at the end of a beginning and at the beginning of the unknown.

I have made choices in my twenty-two years of life–commitments to actions, people, beliefs–and where I am now is a reflection of those commitments, the good and the bad. My beliefs are the rungs I stand on, they support me in my journey and they are the ground that will catch me should I misstep and tumble off that ladder. Of course I cannot relay all of these beliefs to you now, but I will give it a start.

I believe that we all have a right to be here, and within that is a right to be happy, to feel loved, to be wanted. I believe that most things happen for a reason even though inside the moment we can rarely see the explanation. Pain is inevitable and time does not heal, but it numbs the pain, eventually allowing it to subside and be filled in by calmer (if not happier) moments. I believe that we are all looking for someone to share our ups, downs and middles with, and when you are able to fully love yourself you will have succeeded greatly. I’m still working on that one.

I believe we bear witness to the joys of life in the rushing in and the rolling out of the noonday sun. I believe that the extraordinary is possible, and that we must believe it is possible or else we will never achieve it. When we have wrought our jagged-edged lives out of diligence and suffering and effort and delight, I pray we will find that what seemed to be such an oddly-shaped journey along the way turned out to be a masterpiece after all. When we let go of our dreams, we let go of that which makes us human.

I believe that everyone should be passionate about something. To be apathetic is a waste of the talents one has to offer. To do a job you hate is a disservice to yourself and to the world, because what talent and enthusiasm could you bring if you did something you truly loved! To determine what you truly believe is one of the most important things to do in life. Not those things that can be swayed by a persuasive arguer, or that change with the seasons, or depend on your mood of the day—rather, those things that make you who you are, that reside so close to your heart you could not tear them away if you tried. Those things are the ones that count. Those are the things you must protect and share with the world and never let go of, no matter what.