This I Believe

My favorite essay was by Kara Gebhart Uhl, titled “A Lesson I Hold Dear”. It is about her high school romance with a boy who loved her, named Joe. Joe had professed his love to Kara, however she did not feel it was mutual, therefore she chose to be honest over kind, and tell him she did not love him. In the following years throughout college, Joe would call and contact Kara, who would avoid him and leave curt voicemail replies back. Kara was stunned when Joe committed suicide, after his struggle with bipolar disorder. Kara was also shocked that Joe had written a few lines about her in his suicide note. After much soul searching, Kara realised that it is possible to be both kind and honest. In his note, Joe mentions “How people should be . . . wonderful and I’m glad I had the time with her—still I have a wonderful feeling inside.” Kara interprets this as Joe’s last message of both kindness and honesty, and how Joe always saw Kara’s rejection as a loving act instead of a cruel one.

This story is very touching to me, and shows how short life truly is. There are things you can never take back, and just like a bullet, words can leave a person wounded as well. Reading this essay made me feel that we should be careful and aware of our actions, and how they might impact others.

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4 Responses to This I Believe

  1. larissarios2013 says:

    That essay sounds like a very sad one. It’s so scary how someone can really affect someone else’s life in that way. Very sad outcome but it teaches a very good lesson.

  2. roshnisondhi says:

    This is a very sad essay. I agree that it does tell you how short life is and we should cherish each and every moment. We should also be careful with our words since we never know what will happen next.

  3. Sonya,
    The essay you chose was very poignant and touching. It must have been so difficult for the author to suddenly lose someone the way she did, and I can only imagine how much she blamed herself for Joe’s suicide. It makes you think how kindness as opposed to honesty can affect someone. Everyone says that honesty is the best policy, and it’s true. But at the same time, people need to feel kindness too, and that can clash with the desire and need for honesty. How do you think you can balance these two forces? How do you think their lives might have been if Kara had lied and said she loved Joe?

  4. I really liked the way that you presented this essay in class. It is such a heavy subject, and it sounds like the writer harbors guilt for not hearing the “music behind the words”. I agree with everyone on this post, our words are so powerful, and it we should use them with so much care. Not just that, but we should also treat each other like human beings, and be careful not to blow others off or be cruel. Still, I don’t really think that the writer should feel guilty, because Joe was mentally ill when he took his own life (I believe with bipolar disorder). I lost someone close to me due to bipolar disorder as well, and it is my belief that it was no one’s fault, the sickness just wrapped itself around him and took him away. I think for Kara to have lied that she loved Joe would have ruined her own life, and not necessarily saved his.

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