For the past two months, I’ve been in a nasty mood, pissed off at the world about a promotion I didn’t get at work, feeling I was the best candidate. Angry about the politics of business, and how hard work isn’t as important as who your friends are.
I’ve been depressed because no matter how hard I’ve worked at my job, I’ve always been at the bottom. And just when things seemed they were going my way, BAM! the company gets bought out, I lose my job, and am forced to start over. At the bottom. Respected and known by no one.
Meanwhile, I’m in a self-imposed RUT, depressed about the vicious cycle of trying to balance work and family, and having no time for writing. In essence, it’s like I’m standing over myself, watching me sit on the couch in the evenings, or on weekends, sad and depressed, and unable to put words to paper. Powerless to stop it. Unable to rise above my own anger and sadness.
I always thought if you worked hard, people would notice, and it would eventually get you where you need to go. And my motivation is pure. Noble, even. I don’t want to get ahead for myself. For wealth. I want to get ahead for my family. To give them everything that they want. My wife. My son. My unborn child before he/she is born in July. I thought if my desire, my heart, was pure enough, then good would triumph. But that’s not how the world works, and once again, I was naive to think it did. But damnit, doesn’t the world owe me something? That’s been my mindset.
Then I saw you.
I was heading back to work after my lunch break. Angry, of course. Wishing the last 3 hours would fly by, determined to change my luck, but knowing deep down I wouldn’t. I sat at a red light, 2 minutes from work. And you were at the street corner with two adults. If I had to guess, I would say you were ten years old. It was unseasonably warm, and while you walked without a jacket, you walked with two other things I couldn’t fathom: a walking stick, and a smile.
I nearly lost it right then in the car, and every time I think about the moment since, I nearly lose it. Here you were, young, the entire world ahead of you. Every reason in the world to be angry. But you weren’t. You were smiling. And it was in that moment I realized that despite our differences physically, it was you whose eyes were wide open to the world around you, and I was the one who was blind to what truly mattered.
When people think of inspiration, or heroes, they think of actors who play important characters on tv. Or athletes who lead game-winning drives, and then do charity work in the off season. They don’t look at every day people like yourself, but I want to tell you that you are just as inspiring. Just as motivating. Just as important.
I wanted to jump out of my car, run up and hug you and say “Thank you for just being you,” but of course I didn’t. I couldn’t abandon my car on a public street, nor did I want to make you uncomfortable. But here and now, in the anonymous world of Online Blogging, I want to say Thank You. I needed that moment. To remember that the world owes me nothing, and to stop wallowing in self pity when things don’t go my way.
Thank you for walking that day. And thank you for smiling. You have a strength I can only dream of, a courage that doesn’t yet exist in me, but because of that moment, I know it can if I let it. Thank you for opening my eyes.