OPINION – I have been as transparent as I possibly could be in reference to my journey whether good or challenging. Over the past few years, I have encountered moments where I contemplated going back to school, giving up on my dreams and settling for what life had to offer. Here’s the reason why…the amount of discouragement had taken over my body like a whirlwind filled with thoughts of being simply an amateur of life, while being behind on bills and behind on my existence. But the fact is, I knew that I couldn’t be the only one who felt this way.
I wanted, needed and longed for a quick fix to what seemed to look like a temporary problem. To put everything in its proper perspective, I decided to do something that I had never done. I made the decision to pass through the streets with a camera, a piece of paper and a mission to discover the truth that I seemed to be hiding from myself.
As I walked downtown, I resolved the fact that I would not allow the left side of my brain to dictate my thoughts. I was to be one with the environment; to include those with whom I encountered. It was there that I was able to observe individuals who walked so swiftly by me with their suits & briefcases, while at the same time noticing the onlookers who made their beds in front of the abandoned stores and buildings.
Caught in between the matrix of hopefulness and obscurity I wondered: how many of us feel like we are in the outhouse of life while living under the roof of promise? In order to discover the difference amid the two I searched for a street spectator who would grace me with a piece of good fortune: aka wisdom.
And there he was…
His name was “John” and he was a bike rider of homeless hope. As he carried his jug of crystal geyser water attached to his transportation he stopped to connect with me and fill me in on his life to include past and present. Not surprised by his kindness and intelligence, he supplied me with exactly what I desired. “John” at one time had a good job and a family. Along the way adversities hit him and he slipped into a dark place where his only hope was a bottle of alcohol. Day in and day out he failed to notice that his life was collapsing into an existence of being alone with no family in sight.
And then one day he looked up and had lost everything.
As our conversation grew into a life’s lesson for me, I informed him that there were many times where I felt like I couldn’t get back up mentally to keep pressing forward. He hugged me and then said, “Don’t be like me.”
In that moment, all I wanted to do was cry, but I couldn’t. In essence he was someone’s son, uncle, father and husband. As we parted ways, I gave him every last dollar I had in my pocket and gave him the gift he gave to me — words of encouragement.
As I drove home completely grateful for my encounter, I couldn’t help but to think about the many visitors that have come into my life with a roof of endless possibilities over their heads, secure income but have mentally given up on what could be vs. what is.
You see “John” may have been down but he still desired change, therefore he had hope. But I now wonder, how many of us are just one thought away from losing everything?
As for me and my journey I am no different than “John” when the dust is settled and the salt water tears dried on my face, I realized that I may have been down but at least I could get back up.
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly” -Langston Hughes
Be Bold. Be Great. Be You.
By Tiana Burse