I Believe in Living Moment to Moment

Author: Danielle Howard, TCU Student, Fall 2014

I did not have a typical High School experience. After dropping out of school and returning a year later, my only goal was to graduate as fast as possible. Senior year, I spent all of my time going to school and work, and going home to study. I wasn’t concerned with building relationships or having the social life that most teenagers have, and I didn’t realize that I was missing out on so many memories. Many people have stories of near death experiences and life-changing moments that led to clarification and inspiration, but my experience was much more than that. One single moment caused me to completely change the way I live.

Early one December morning during my Senior year, I woke up in excruciating pain. I could hear the steady beep of a heart monitor, and the muffled whispers of people nearby. When I opened my eyes, the fluorescent hospital lights made my headache spike to an unbearable level of pain. My mind was racing as I tried to summon up any memory from the previous night, but I came up blank. When I tried to turn my head, I realized that I had a neck brace on, and I was strapped to the bed, restricting my movement. This was the scariest moment of my life. My body was numb, and I was terrified and alone. I could hear the beep of the heart monitor picking up speed with my panic. When I opened my mouth I couldn’t form words, I could only cry.

Late the night before, I was in an accident that resulted in a Grade 3 Concussion. The impact paralyzed my diaphragm, leaving me unable to breathe. When I ran out of oxygen, my heart stopped. I didn’t regain a heartbeat for the eight minutes that it took the paramedics to arrive and begin defibrillation. When they shocked me for the fourth time, my heart miraculously restarted.

I don’t remember most of that night or the following weeks of recovery, but I do vividly remember the overwhelming regret that filled me when I realized that had the paramedics arrived just a few minutes later, that would have been the end of my life and up to that point, I hadn’t accomplished anything significant. I was stuck dwelling on the past and worrying about the future, and I was so busy trying to grow up that I forgot to live.

Because of that moment of impact, I am a living, breathing cliché. I believe in putting my all into everything I do, and never turning down an opportunity to make memories. I believe in living moment to moment and making peace with the past. I believe in acting now and thinking later, but never looking back with regret. I believe that sorrow is just as significant as joy because every experience we have shapes who we are. I believe in taking advantage of every moment we are blessed with, because one instant of impact can end everything.

I believe in Servitude

Author: Alex Nied, TCU Student, Fall 2014

I believe in servitude.

How do you define a great person? Is it by their education, wealth, power or maybe accomplishments? I believe that in order to be great one must be a servant to others. Martin Luther King Jr. said that everyone can be great because everyone has the ability to serve.

I had the opportunity to work with women in the RISE program this summer. These ladies have 3 or more felony counts of prostitution against them. They chose to enter the program rather than going to prison and are now healing from year’s worth of psychological and physical damage with the help of therapy, group classes and service. I understood my job to be helping them, but it turns out they became my teachers. I was getting the most out of the relationship – not the other way around. These women have lost everything – their families, jobs, privileges, even themselves – and yet they continue to love and serve with their entire beings. MLK also said all you need to serve is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. The RISE ladies revealed to me the importance of serving others. They taught me that service is a privilege and if you are able – you must serve. The feeling of helping someone and receiving no fame for that service – is the ultimate reward we will ever attain. The women continually reminded me that when they lost themselves in the service of others that is truly when they found themselves.

I believe that service to others is a privilege and a path to greatness. We don’t have to have everything figured out to serve. There is no college degree or manual for servitude, all we need is a heart full of grace. As the author of 1st Peter says, everyone should use their gifts to serve others in order to administer God’s grace. So ask yourself, what have you done for the service of others lately?

I believe in the value of human life

Author: LaTonya Whitley, TCU Student, Criminal Justice Major, Published Fall 2012

I believe in the value of human life because I am a survivor. I have survived many things, but the one story that I hold near and dear to my heart is being a survivor of rape. My mom would allow numerous men to sleep in the bed with us at an early age; I believe I was around five or six when I first discovered “being touched”. I remember waking up to one of these men, a family friend, touching me. He had removed my panties and performed a sexual act on me. Confused I immediately got out of bed with my panties in my hand searching for my mother. My mother happened to be in the next room on the couch with a man, who was not my father. I stood at my bedroom door with my panties in my hand and when she saw me, naked with just a t-shirt on, she yelled at me to return to my room. I obeyed, went back in my room and slept next to the family friend who just molested me. From the age of five-six to age sixteen, I spent my life being a victim of molestation, numerous attempted rapes and one rape. The predators were family friends, adult cousins; ironically none of the perpetrators were strangers. I tried telling my mom on numerous occasions, but my pleas for help, fell on deaf ears. I remember trying to get help from my father but he just made excuses why he did not rescue me. About three years ago, I discovered why. He has been accused of molesting my cousin and having sexual relations with his biological daughter, my sister. I grew up angry, I was angry with my mother, my father and God. The sexual abuse I experienced, encouraged my promiscuous life style and it prevented me from having the knowledge to choose a decent man.

I spent the great part of my life in relationships that were toxic. I would go from one bad relationship to the next; always looking for one person to love me, and I thought I could find it by having sex. I would work, go to school, party, travel; I would do anything not to face reality. I was oblivious to the outside world, and the outside world was oblivious to me. Then one day, through no fault of mine, I lost my job and my world came crashing down. After I lost my job, I became extremely angry, I did not want to be around anyone; not even my children whom I love so much.

One day I read a book, called, Initiation by Elizabeth Haich and it changed my life. I began to work on me and what I needed to improve my life. Obtaining a job was a factor, but rebuilding a new me was more important. I realized that God has been with me all my life, even through the suffering I experienced. He only let me suffer long enough to teach me the value of human life, specially my life.
Though I experienced a lot of hardship throughout my lifetime, I have many things to be grateful about. First, I allowed God in my heart, mind, body and soul. I have four children and none of them suffered the way I suffered; as a matter of fact three are in college and one currently attends high school.

Someone once told me that bad things happen to good people, those people who have been hurt by life. I have learned that external forces do not have to devalue a human life; rather it can be used as a positive reinforcement to inspire change. This is why I believe!