WHEN INSPIRATION STRIKES: Mistakes should encourage us to try harder, sympathize with our community

Sophomore Gabi Alvarado

Sophomore Gabi Alvarado, who enjoys writing, will blog biweekly on the origins of her creativity and artistic vision.

I try to live life to the fullest. For me, that means living in the present and recognizing beauty where it lies. I believe that crushing sadness precedes immense joy.

This poem is about time. That saying “Time heals all wounds” I’m sure has some standing, but time hasn’t healed any of mine quite yet. I’ve started wondering about the validity of that phrase. Maybe our pain and loss are defined by how well we can push through whatever else happens, live with our choices, forgive ourselves for our mistakes or live right now, in this moment – not by how much time it takes for us to forget our grief.

I have a very sick friend. I’ll call her Hazel. Some days when I think about her, I wonder if I’ll ever see her again.

Hazel was in the hospital near our house recently, and I went to visit her. She told me that she would be moved out of the state soon and that she would be gone for about half a year, or more, to receive treatment in a special hospital. I was alarmed, but I didn’t show it. I asked her if they’d give her better food, and she immediately cheered up.

As I left, I assured her I’d visit the next day and to call me whenever she wanted. She didn’t call, and I didn’t visit her. A few days passed, and though I thought of her every single day, I didn’t visit or call her.

Finally, after almost a week had passed, I called the hospital. I thought I would tell her I’d had a busy week and  hadn’t had any time to visit her between my homework and studying and extracurriculars, all of which was true. However the receptionist said that there was no one under her name and code in the hospital.

I was too late. Hazel had been moved out of the state to a hospital about which I knew nothing. I was devastated and furious with myself that I had made such stupid excuses and avoided seeing my best friend in her time of need. Worried and regretful, I listened to “It Ain’t Me, Babe” on repeat.

When I fear something bad will happen – and I know it eventually will – that fear exhausts and drains me, and time prolongs my worry. Time lengthens my state of dread, and when what I dread happens, it stings.

The next day I wrote this poem because despite this horrible mistake, I looked around me and saw life, joy, people striving to heal themselves and people striving to heal others. I realized that my decisions were made and in the past. I could live with them. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I know what is happening in the present and that I have control over how I react and influence others right now.

Regret, especially when it’s too late to change anything, is a heavy burden. If we really listen to others and live in the moment, maybe that’s a way out of the sting of regret.

I made a mistake. It caused a dear friend much pain. And I can’t do a single thing to help her now. But I can help others. I can look around me and know what people are missing, what they need, what they struggle with. I can listen to people – not just to what they say, but to how they feel.

I will endure time by experiencing everything I am lucky to have, by listening to people and knowing what to do, by accepting that what I did was wrong and by being better in the present.


I Can Age


I learned that Time is impatient

When my brother died, sickly.


I learned that Future gives no guarantee

When an earthquake destroyed my home.


I learned that Past holds no comfort

As I remembered my lost riches.


I saw my peers struggling.

I helped them on their way.


I saw my idols glowing.

I sought out their cure.


I saw the beauty in life.

I wrote about it to remember.


I listened to troubles,

To hearts, to minds.


In Present I found a haven.

I was released from regret.


I found my cure:

Now I can live with Time.

I can age.

By Gabi Alvarado

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