This I Believe

This week’s post is a little different for me. We did “This I Believe” essays in Junior English classes, so I thought I would share mine. I wrote my essay first and then turned it into a digital story.

Here is the video version of this week’s post.


And below is the script that I worked from. It evolved from my original story in order to match the photos I was able to collect, but in essence, it is the same core belief from my original draft.

“There but for the grace of God go I,” my grandmother used to say when I was young. I never understood what it meant. To my child’s ear, it sounded like Grace was a person going on a walk, and I wondered why my grandma said it when my great aunt died of cancer or when the neighbor’s son lost his job or when my mother was in the hospital.

As I grew older, I came to understand what the words meant, but it was not until I met my nephew, Henry, that I truly felt the power of my grandmother’s axiom.

I believe in gratitude. I believe in appreciating every moment as a gift.

Henry was born with an extra chromosome and a hole in his heart. He was in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) for 17 days, and when he came home, there were feeding tubes and special formulas and sleepless nights for my sister and brother-in-law. Then when he was just four months old with a heart the size of a walnut, there was open heart surgery.

Henry was strong, the surgery succeeded, and I had my first lesson in gratitude, overwhelming appreciation for the opportunity to get to know this little guy.

Since then, in a million little ways, Henry has taught me to appreciate life from the tiniest detail to the grandest experience. Through his eyes, the world has wonder and joy and simplicity and treasures.

Through Henry’s eyes, ice cream should be worshipped first and then savored for as long as possible. So should cupcakes and cookies and birthday cake and lollipops.

Finger painting is an all-in activity.

One should listen to music as much as possible…

And play it.

And sing it.

And dance with abandon.

Little sisters are a blessing…So are mommies and daddies.

Big Bird is awesome no matter how old you get.

If someone gives you a firehose to play with, don’t waste it. And make sure everyone knows your name.

I used to spend a lot of my time and energy worrying about the things that I didn’t have, but since Henry has entered my life, I spend that energy being grateful for what I do have. And when I see people who don’t have a Henry in their lives, who haven’t been given the gift of gratitude, I think to myself, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

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