Do you have a mirror? I think everyone does. I have a mirror, but I have another mirror, too. It’s not made of glass. It shows not my face but my feelings and thoughts. My mirror is a cork board with many notes I wrote to myself. With these notes, I can see things better. It has helped me with a lot of problems. When I had a trouble with one of my friends, it gave me a power to talk to her. When I had no energy to study, it showed me why I was so. And this spring, it changed my attitude toward life.
I had a dog, Hana. Hana was a Shiba dog I found on the street five years ago. Since she followed me to school, I decided to take care of her. Hana became a member of my family. We loved her very much. I took her for walks.
One very rainy day in May, Hana disappeared. Her collar and leash disappeared, too. We looked for Hana. After the hard rain I rode my bike for hours, looking. I didn’t see her. At night I sat at my desk and wrote all my worries on a piece of paper. “Her leash could be caught somewhere and she can’t move.” “It would be nice if someone had her and is feeding her now. “ “She must be all right!” I put the note on my cork board. Keeping and reading my worries helped me to be strong. I had to find her.
Ten days later, a neighbor came to my house. She said that her husband saw a Shiba dog floating in the river on the rainy day. “It’s not Hana.” I thought. I wanted to go to the river then but I had tests at school. My mother said, “Don’t worry. We will find her. You do what you have to do.”
That night my mother told me it was Hana. I cried and cried. “Why Hana? Why not a different dog?” I wrote these unhappy feelings on notes. I wrote, “I don’t understand. She was a good dog.” “She did nothing wrong.” “She just liked to play soccer with me.” Then something strange happened. I started to write my memories and noticed how much Hana gave to my family. My notes showed me how precious Hana was to us. After reading these notes on my cork board, I wrote, “Hana was precious. Everyone is precious. I am precious, too. She taught me how valuable a life, any life, is. I will always keep this in mind through my life.”
My notes about Hana showed me something important. They changed my attitude toward life. By writing a note, I can sort out my feelings and see myself better. This mirror shows me where I am and where to go. It’s the origin of my energy, comfort and confidence. I’d like to keep my mirror with me. Don’t you want to have another mirror, too?
Thank you for listening.
(2-21 Speech in 63rd Contest, 2011)
(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun