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Hope This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The screen door banged as I stepped out onto the shady patio. I had eaten lunch and I always took some time outside before naptime. It was a retreat from my busy four-year-old life and a time to concentrate on my feelings. I crossed the prickly brown grass, a desert of July destruction, on ginger feet. Finally, I plunked myself down on a pile of rough granite and leaned back against an aluminum drainpipe.

Today’s escape was not to think about happiness. I sat on the rock pile to contemplate my pain, a pain so excruciating that no child should be allowed to go through my silent torture. Every day after lunch, my stomach would mysteriously begin to hurt, giving me a horrible burning sensation, as if a bomb had exploded in my abdomen.

I sat there helpless, knowing the situation was out of my hands. It was then that I decided to pray. When I bowed my head, the sun bathed my neck with its scorching rays and made my ruffled blouse stick to my back. My delicate fingers gently clasped before me, adorned with plastic rings. A beautiful display of white fireworks burst on the back of my eyelids when I shut them, but I just squeezed my eyes tighter. The words came in a whisper, "Dear God, please let me die. Amen."

That was one of the hardest moments of my life, one that only now, ten years later, I have had the courage to reveal to my mom. By some miracle I managed to keep my pain a secret, dealing with it for nearly a year before she found out. Looking back now, I don’t think many children would have the strength to endure. I didn’t complain because my mom had her hands full with my younger brother and was pregnant with my sister. My dad, who thought I was too sensitive, would have told me to stop complaining because it couldn’t hurt that much. The only one I could turn to was God. I was ready to give up on life only four years into it.

One year later we were heading home from the doctor’s office, a bottle of goopy yellow medicine and a diagnosis tucked in my mom’s purse. Every day for the next month I was forced to swallow a mouthful of the sickening syrup. Three years later we were heading home from the hospital again, this time only a diagnosis in her purse. There was no medicine for this second condition; we were hoping I would outgrow it. Another year passed and we were again headed home from the clinic, this time with three diagnoses, two diet sheets, and 10 different medications. Today, pills still sit on my placemat every morning and evening to help support my digestive system.

I had given up hope because my health was failing. No matter how horrible life becomes, I’ve decided never to give up hope again. Even when I think there’s nothing left to live for, as long as I have hope, my future will be bright. Hope is the lantern that guides me out of the dark, illuminating my path one step at a time and holding a promise that tomorrow will be better. I have hope. I have everything.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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jennam8 said...
Feb. 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm
This is beautiful, inspiring, touching, and emotional. If this is true, I praise you for staying strong and hopeful. No wonder this was published in the magazine. You're a perfect role model for loving life and cherishing every part of it. You're an inspiration, and I know hope will guide you to perfect health. Great piece.
 
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