"What is something you would die for?"

I've never been asked that question before, so when I was asked to write an essay answering it, I had no idea what to write. However, everyone has to start somewhere, and I am starting here.

I love my family and my friends. I love God. I love my dog and I love my country. I love my ideals, freedoms, and beliefs. I would stand up for all of these things without hesitation. I'm not sure if I would die for those things, though.

"Well," you're probably wondering, "if she loves them so much, surely, she would give up her life for them?"

It's not that simple. Think about it: if you were asked to choose between yourself and someone you loved, whom, honestly would you choose?

You want to say the person you love, of course, but you want to live, too. You want to say you'll find a way to somehow save the both of you. You want to be a hero. You're not sure if you can be a hero. It tears you apart. You have to choose.

Like I said, it's not that simple.

My family and I have always been close. We argue on a regular basis (my mom even kicked me out of the car and made me walk home last week) and it gets really ugly at times, but we still say "I love you" everyday. Despite the disagreements, I still go to my mom for advice and hugs. I still watch sports and make stupid jokes with my dad. I still binge watch TV shows I don't really like with my sister because I know she loves them and she doesn't want to be alone. We're close, and I'm proud of that, but I don't know if I would give up my life in exchange for theirs. Wouldn't that ruin the closeness? Wouldn't a piece be missing?

My friends have helped me go through so much. Not everybody has remained a part of my group and not everybody has been there from the beginning, but those that are here, I love dearly. I may feel unappreciated or annoyed or angry because of them sometimes, but they make me laugh until I cry and have deep conversation with me at 3 A.M. without questions. Some of them are just school friends, but there are a few I would trust with my life. However, would I willingly give up my life for them?

My dog Bristol turned one on January 2supnd/sup this year. She died two weeks after that and it was the hardest thing I have gone through, ever. It was like losing a child and a best friend all at once. I didn't go to school for almost week, and when I finally did, I just decided to throw myself into school, work, and swim team. I immersed myself into extracurricular activities, but I would come home, exhausted, and call out for her, thinking she was going to come greet me and we'd curl up on the couch with her head in my lap. It turned out the worst feeling wasn't the dark weight on my chest; it was missing her (she should have been there, but she wasn't).

My parents took me to get Tillie in February. I wasn't aware we were going to be bringing home a six-week-old puff that night and even though she was adorable, I cried and cried because nothing could replace Bristol (I didn't want to replace her). Let me tell you: Tillie is a little princess. It took a while, and though it's not the same, I love her. I plan on having her around for a very, very long time. She's going to still be my little puff when I have kids in ten years or so. I'll make sure of it, but with my life?

The United States of America is one of the (if not the most) prominent and influential countries in the world and I am so blessed and proud to call it my home. I'm not proud of some of the things we've done, are doing, and will do, but I love my home all the same. I believe the USA has changed the world for the better and that we should all continue to do so. I love that we can speak out against the government without consequence and women can walk through the streets in shorts and tank top without constantly having to worry about being raped or harassed. I love the diversity that comes with each part of our country, from the way we talk to how we take our tea. I love that we have a history of standing up for our beliefs no matter what, even if we may seem more stupid than brave at times. I love America, but am I brave enough to stand up for what I believe in like us Americans are known for?

Lastly, God has been a part of my life since I was conceived. I'm very involved at my church; I am head acolyte, part of the youth ministry team, a lay reader, on the hostess team, and currently in training to be a Eucharistic minister. I pray every night before I go to bed to thank God for everything that he does for me and to receive His counsel. I have a really nice, comfortable life thanks to Him, and I love Him for it. Would I commit myself to martyrdom for Him, though?

Jesus did. Christ died on the cross for all of our sins. He died so that God may allow our families, friends, and ourselves to cross into his country, so that we may be with the ones that we love and be saved. Because Jesus allowed himself to be killed, we may never truly die. I know that all of the ones that I love will be with me in Heaven, and it is Jesus whom I have to thank for this.

However, Jesus died for us despite knowing our selfishness. Nobody spoke out against the Romans as Jesus walked to his death because they feared they, too, might be killed. We prioritize self-preservation, therefore making it against our natures to place ourselves in conscious danger, especially the life-threatening type. Jesus knew this, yet he did not save Himself. He loved us, despite our flaws, and it is one of the reasons why we love Him so dearly. So I think it is okay for me to want to live. It's okay for me to not want to die. He didn't want to die either, but when it came time, He went willingly. He chose between the ones He loved and Himself, and He chose us, the selfish, simple mortals who didn't even try to stop His execution, despite loving Him.

Now, honestly, whom would you choose?