What Matters

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What is truly important in life? Money? How about power? Those are important, right? When I am asked this broad, almost unanswerable question, although these things do come to mind, they are not what I respond with. These are too heartless of an answer. There’s no personal emotion or revealing insight into a person’s innermost thoughts and beliefs. Instantly, the images that come to life in my mind are the intangible riches that some people will aspire their whole lives to obtain but seemingly fall short of the mark; but is it the failure that needs to be focused on or the attempt they made at acquiring what is needed in life? Where my focus lies is mainly within two of these hard-to-earn trophies: character and love.

Everything that is compiled within us as humans—our thoughts, beliefs, and morals—combine to make what is known as character. Character is the defining aspect that makes each individual unique. Character, to me, is one of the most important things to display to those around us as it lets everyone know just who a person really is. Having good character isn’t saying, “All of me is good. I am perfect.” No, that’s not true at all. There are both good and bad character traits in all of us, but to me, what really matters when it comes to character is embracing the fact that yes, we do have a few unwanted character traits within ourselves. My parents and those around me say that I am a combination of the good from both of my mom and dad. The strong work ethic of my father and the problem solving of my mother is just a pair of traits I have been told are identical to those found in my parents. However, I know for a fact that I worry about way too many things and have, although I hate to admit it, a bit of a temper. Even so, despite the temper I know I have and have been told I can demonstrate, it takes quite a bit to bring it out in me, so some people say that I have the patience to counteract the rage that can sometimes cloud my judgments and corrupt my thoughts that could so easily consume me if I would allow it to do so. It is so easy to give up this struggle between the good within and the bad that seems to try so hard to overpower it. Adopting more and more bad traits would be such an easy thing to do, but it is imperative that a person never gives in and believes that he/she can overcome it and let his/her true colors show. As long as one is trying to show and portray the good qualities and attempting to better the bad ones, it says his or her character is truly beautiful.

Once a person sees the true potential in the character of himself and those around them, what else could possibly be more important or noteworthy than that? Well, it’s a simple, tiny four-letter word that has the ability to both build and destroy. It has the ability to deliver a devastating knockout punch so powerful, it would bring even the strongest of people around us to their knees, gasping for air and crying for forgiveness, yet it has such power and magnitude that it can lift up the most broken and weakest individual and turn him into Superman. What is this amazing, powerful word? Love—love is such an omnipotent force that it must be accepted or else it will consume a person’s entire being and bring him crashing down if it is denied. My grandfather, who is also a minister, has told me that love is what saved us all. When I asked him how love could save someone, he replied with this: “Our Lord loved us so much that he sent his son to die for the bad things we had done and we as humans are still doing. Even with us being how we are, God still loves us and will never leave us to fend for ourselves.” He has preached about love being the greatest power in a Christian’s (and a person’s in general) arsenal and that true love will always win if it is pure. I personally have heard and seen how love can create a bond that can last a lifetime, even when the initial love connection is lost.

My parents were divorced when I was young, about three. Ever since then, it has been a battle with periods of quiet calms between my mother and father, but the phrase “the calm before the storm” has never been proven as true as when it is applied to the relationship that my parents now have. Although they both can display a clear image of extreme dislike towards the other, each has said before, “I really did love him/her at one time, and in a way, I still do now because without him/her, I would have never had you.” ‘I would have never had you.’ This phrase will stick in my head forever like super glue—permanently. I thought over and over how on earth two individuals who could hardly get along the first time around could ever say such a thing. That’s when I truly saw the power of love; that’s when I saw that even through all of the discord that arose between the two, love was still able to show through so clearly and luminous.

It is true that there is more than just love and character that matters to me in life. Knowledge, respect, my future, and making the right choices (to name a few) are all aspects of life that both intrigue and frighten me at the same time. With them life could be so vibrant and full of happiness; however, without them, it could take a wrong turn on a path to nowhere all too quickly. It is imperative to me that I understand these are the thoughts that must be discussed and pondered over in my head. These are what I will have left behind when my battle is finally over. I must make it a point to express these beliefs in my life to all who are around me, and in return, I hope to bestow the same thoughts onto them and help them see what it is that truly matters.





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