Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This I Believe (written June 2005)

Spring of senior year, it’s what I’d been living for. I must have checked the mailbox almost religiously, everyday, waiting for the one letter that would inevitably give my life purpose. I waited for the meaning of life to settle itself in my mailbox packaged inside an envelope in the form of one word – “congratulations.” I often daydreamed about getting that letter, and every time I did, I could feel the letter paper between my fingers becoming moist with perspiration, I could smell the ink on the page, and I could feel the ecstatic joy pulsing through my veins and spilling out through my eyes. It was so real, more real than the reality of what happened.

I opened that mailbox, and there it was, the envelope with the emblem of the university. It sat in the mailbox for a long minute. I gave the meaning time to settle into the box. I supposed any sudden movement would mangle the good word that I hoped was inside. Eventually, I reached in and pulled it out. I could feel the envelope between my fingers becoming moist with perspiration, and I could smell the ink in the address and the glue on the seal, but my heart fell. It was the same pang I feel when I see those images of emaciated children on TV. Too thin. The envelope was too thin.

It was unreal. I had tried to be optimistic and had not thought too often about what it was going to be like to be rejected, to not find the meaning of my life. I had imagined that I would burst out into tears in a bout of overwhelming sadness. I had imagined that I would scream in a devastating torrent of anger, but nothing happened. I felt empty, just empty. I thought it was the most anticlimactic ending to my life.

I was disappointed that there was nothing. This was it. It was the end. I just couldn’t believe that was it. I stood there, and I began to think. I began to redefine “the end” and that definitely was not it. If that wasn’t the end, that meant that life was still going, and all I could do was keep going with it. It’s then that I began to feel something again. I decided that it was okay, that everything was okay. I felt hope in my heart, and I know that everything is going to be okay.

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