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Under The Bridge This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   While existing in a world of deceit, one must find the strength to tell thetruth. As a member of the human race, it has become evident to me that truth, nomatter how difficult, is the strongest constant good. A peaceful life is found inthe midst of honesty.

During sophomore year, I was immersed in a cloud ofconfusion. The preceding summer, masked gunmen had ripped my life to shreds. Mybrother was taken from his home in the middle of the night and murdered. Inside Ifelt a gaping abyss filled with questions, and all I wanted were answers. Wheredo I go now? How do I continue? What am I without him? I searched deep within foranswers but found only more questions. I wallowed in self-imposed isolation formonths, adrift in an ocean of emptiness. I continually looked for answers to thesame questions, but it wasn't until spring that I was offered a possible end tomy pursuit.

Every April, the faculty at my parochial high school organizesa retreat to bring students closer to God and themselves. I foolishly thoughtthat this retreat would bring the answers I so desperately sought, and that myisolation and depression would subside.

Others on the retreat foundanswers by asking us questions, and so were freed from the crosses they werebearing. Envy surged through my blood. After hours of tear-drenched confessionsand heartfelt proclamations of classmates, I mustered the strength to admit theagony I had been suffering. But looking around the room made me lose my courage.I simply was not ready.

In my dejection, I created a story of lies. Iconfessed to awful habits I had supposedly developed. I spoke of the same drughabit that had killed my father, and tried to believe it. My answer was to denythe truth; deny the fact that my brother was dead, and that I was unable tohandle the trauma.

For two years after that weekend, I ignored reality. Idisregarded the brutal murder of my brother and embraced the idea that I was aseasoned drug addict. Instead of mourning my brother's death, I escaped intonon-existent problems to make me forget. Although my lie bore the semblance ofhelping me with my pain, it did not. Instead it created scar tissue. I turned myback on the truth - that Aaron was gone, that he would never again hug me andmake sure I was okay. But as time dragged on, I began to realize that no matterwhat happens, no matter what façade I displayed, people still loved me,and I could love them.

I began to realize I lied on that retreat. Ithought about how I had betrayed the trust in the room and how I may haveinterfered with those searching for their own answers. And as I realized this,the cold steel separating me from acceptance began to corrode. The world aroundme was no longer plastic and tasteless, people seemed alive again, and I couldtrust them.

When the truth dawned on me, I knew what I had to do. To cometo terms with my life, I wrote this essay. It will forever serve as a reminder ofhow truth brings about peace, and how I must always bring abouttruth.

Learning to be truthful freed me from a world of darkness; it hasopened my eyes to an existence of joy and integrity. I was only allowed to beginmy search for an answer when I learned this valuable law of life.

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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MickeyH said...
Sept. 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm
I admire you for your courage- in Heaven, more angels rejoice in one repented sinner than in a thousand righteous people. While I may not have made up a drug addiction, I also would not have had the courage to come to terms with my life after a close family member- your brother! i can't imagine- has been brutally killed. My condolences to your family- you're in my prayers.
 
greenwithvelvet said...
Jan. 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm
Thank you for writing this. I know that a lot of people struggle with this in differant ways. Acceptance is really hard when you just want to ask why. I admire you.
 
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