Finding hope in hopeless times

Sara Petersen

This past summer for me has been one of severe frustration. We all know that the world is a pretty cruel and terrible place, but what I have seen over the summer has made me so extremely disheartened as to what humanity has succumbed to.

In May, I went to Cedar Point on a weekday, and there must have been a number of schools on a field trip because kids were running around everywhere. While I was standing in line at the Gemini, I saw this girl who could not have been older than a fifth-grader. She was modestly dressed, her hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail and she had freckles. I thought she was the cutest little girl I had ever seen – that is, until she told a friend that the ride operator “can go fuck himself.”

I was flabbergasted. Appalled is the only word I can think of to describe my reaction to this child, who shouldn’t even know what she said. What bothers me even more is the ease of how she said the most vulgar word known to the English language. It was as if she had said it for years and often.

About a week ago, Brooke, an acquaintance of mine, rolled her car a couple of times in a field close to her house, and the accident proved fatal. She was my sister’s 17-year-old neighbor, and she was one of the most caring and accepting people I have ever met. Brooke had a typical girl-next-door personality, very congenial and easy to talk to and loved by everyone.

I look back at the short life I have lived and I already see so much that has happened since I first started my senior year in high school I look forward to what is in my future, and I know that Brooke will never experience the beautiful things life gives.

I continually ask myself all the time: “Why does this happen? Why do terrible things happen, and especially why do they happen to good people? Why do teens that have so much life in them suddenly die? Why are people, even at extremely young ages, so disrespectful for no reason?” At times, all of these things make my heart weep.

As much as I am tormented by these terrible happenings, there is hope. I was a counselor this year at a camp for teens aged 13 through 17. As at any camp, there were separations of the campers into the “cool group” that consisted of the older and generally more attractive campers, and then there was everybody else. You know the type: the girls who don’t dress extremely fashionably and don’t exactly know how to style their hair yet.

One night we had a dance and one of the attractive, athletic boys would not dance with one of the beauties from his group until every single awkward girl sitting in the shadows had been danced with. He did this simple act of extreme kindness voluntarily, he truly enjoyed dancing with those girls and by doing so he made their night. When I saw him doing this, my eyes started to well up with tears because when I was 13, I was one of those awkward, “ugly” girls.

I heard about Brooke when I was in my dorm room, and as you can imagine, I was pretty upset. I was so loud in my grieving that I could be heard next door, and my neighbor came and knocked on my door asking if everything was OK. The next thing I knew, this complete stranger was giving me a hug and telling me everything would be OK.

I learned this summer that terrible things do happen, but beautiful things happen too. Everything evens out in the end.

Sara Petersen is a junior public relations major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].