Yesterday, I was meeting with a student (I recruit students to college) and I noticed how thin his coat was, and the holes in his shirt. He came to campus by bus and foot in this very cold and windy day in Dallas. My heart sank a little as I looked down at his coat knowing how hard his commute might have been to get here. I drove in a warm car → perspective.
We’re chatting about the holiday, and what going to college will mean for him. He shares with me how it will mean everything. He wants to start over in his life, but no one believes he can do it → perspective.
He asked me, “Miss Rachel, do you think chance or social economic status determine your success?”
I answer it in a way that shows how much of a bubble my life must look to him. “Your success is determined by you. By how much effort and hard work you are willing to put in your life.” Right? I do believe that’s true, but is it really just that easy?
His eyes looked sad and empty. He knew right then, I just didn’t get it and I never will. → perspective.
Here I am trying to put myself in his shoes, like the saying says but I couldn’t. How could I ever really understand this person’s life? I don’t know what it means to be born into the projects (his words). I don’t know what it would have been like to work at the age fourteen to help provide food for the family. I don’t know what it would be like to have a family that never said they believed you could do it. I never even thought that college wasn’t an option.
I can’t relate to this sweet man, and it breaks my heart that I take advantage of my opportunities daily. → perspective.
I don’t think it’s about feeling guilty – and that’s not the emotion I am trying to create. We don’t need to feel guilty for having supportive parents, education, or the “middle class” lifestyle. It’s not about feeling guilty that makes you better, but I should feel shame when I don’t stop and truly be thankful.
We have moments when we forget, we’re only human. Mmmm.
In those moments, like the one I had with this student, I believe your reactions and feelings make up a lot of who you are. It bothered me that his coat was thin. It bothered me that he had holes in his shirt. It bothered me that he has gone through life with no support or encouragement. It bothered me that he has to fight people’s stereotypes of him every single day. It’s that moment that tells me a lot about who I am.
I am thankful to my soul for being sensitive to other’s less fortunate. I’m thankful for my experiences that have taught me the “reality” in this world. Thank you life that you have not been easy – you taught me well.
This man needs a coat. → perspective.
It’s Thanksgiving; it’s only natural to have a spirit of thanks. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will offer just that…
Thankful most for the reminders of other people’s struggle and need. Those reminders shape me into someone who has continued to grow into a better person. If I went one day without a desire to help another, that would be a dark day for me. I’m thankful for life and how it’s taught my soul to do well.
Spend Thanksgiving with the one’s you love, but also with the one’s who need love.
Nourish your soul daily, my friends. Ask daily for perspective.
Photo by the ever so talented Arlee Grace, my sister!
peace and ♥.