What a beautiful week! Cool mornings. Warm, humidity-free afternoons. Plus, a twinge of color that promises the acceleration of autumn’s bold deliverance.
Why, amid the wonders of Mother Nature’s good graces, is there always something that kicks us to the curb of reality? Why can’t life cut us some slack when we need it the most?
So, I’m calling this Culture Awareness Week. I cannot say that I’ve led a sheltered existence – not in the least. Nor do I tiptoe through life wearing blinders. I don’t. Yet twice this week I found myself engaged in a battle of shock and awe.
Sunday mornings are my grocery days. Even though I am a social butterfly, I just do not like to shop with strangers. I go early, hustle through the aisles, and get out before half of the public is even awake.
This past week, in my attempt to escape, I noticed a young woman by the clothing donation bin in the parking lot. Surrounding it was an overflowing mountain of black trash bags. This young woman was ripping all the bags open and examining each piece of clothing to salvage anything useful.
While my first thought was, “All power to you, girl,” I still found myself drowning in melancholy. Even in my worst of times, ravaging through public clothing donations would never have occurred to me. I was raised to make the best of whatever I had.
Understand that I found no fault in her actions. It takes courage, strength, and maybe even a little creativity, to survive adversity. I was just mortified that her reality was so different than mine. How dare I ever complain?
And if that was not eye-opening enough, I was watching something on TV – I seriously cannot remember what show – when an educator who was mentoring a youth group asked a young girl about her hopes for the future.
“What are your plans after graduation?” he asked. Without any deep thought whatsoever, the young girl replied, “I guess I’ll get pregnant so I can go on welfare.”
My heart broke; my stomach turned; my eyes welled with tears. How, in 2023, in the greatest country on earth, can anyone not have a dream bigger than that? How does that happen? How?
I may be blessed beyond belief, but I am culturally ignorant. I know this wasn’t just a scripted scene. This happens in many walks of life. We often become what our environments dictate. And without a guiding light to illuminate our path, we merely follow in the footsteps of others down a long, dark road.
Now, I can’t change the world overnight. None of us can. But we can be empathetic in our understanding and acceptance of others. There but for the grace of God go us all.
Life may not make sense sometimes, but each day still amazes me. With the beauty of every sunset comes the hope of another sunrise. If only it were that simple, right? Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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