Maybe I shouldn’t admit it; but I am a little afraid when I go out in public to places I am unfamiliar with. When I moved to Florida years ago; I moved to a city by far larger than where my home town is that I reside in.
Everywhere I went; I saw a variety of people that I was not used to seeing. I saw many cultures. I saw homeless people. I saw purple hair and long hair, different clothing styles. Maybe I should change the word afraid to not knowing how to react, or is that a stupid phrase also.
My brother and I learned that we should not go outside in the dark of where we lived because there were rat snakes roaming about. I am sure that they have their purpose in this world; but considering the great inner fear of snakes, I didn’t care if they were rat snakes or garden snakes; they were snakes and I obeyed.
We really get used to ” our area”. When we live, work and play in the same surroundings, we get comfortable. When you venture into a new area and don’t have that comfortable feeling and we see new things and people; we don’t know what to think or how to respond.
I think this is me so I will erase the word afraid and not knowing how to react to; I need to broaden my horizon in culture. I have been way too sheltered in my own little corner of the world.
God placed a lot of countries, cities and towns on our planet. Along with this comes culture, different foods, interests and lots of learning for us. I remember one day while living in Florida, my brother and I went to a gas station to put fuel in the car.
I didn’t get out of the car immediately because sitting beside the pump was a big trash barrel and going through the barrel was a homeless man. I glanced at my brother and he was staring at the man. I stared along with him. I had never really witnessed a homeless person before; only read about them in the news.
As I watched him, I started to take his place in my mind, and my feelings of wonder turned to pity for him and then I found myself asking what could I do to help. Suddenly I was anxious to get out of the car and pump my gas. Afterwards, I handed the man a twenty dollar bill and told him to have a good day. He smiled big and shook my hand until I thought my arm was going to fall off.
I had a swelling in my heart. I had helped someone else instead of thinking of my usual thoughts. It felt good. It even seemed that my brother and I had a better day than ever. Our spirits were lifted. I had torn down the uncomfortable wall and opened myself to something I had not dealt with before.
I have since then studied culture much more. Learning of rituals and habitats of others is very fascinating. Beliefs others carry is a great learning experience. God sure did an awesome job at placing so many different people under one big, blue marble.
I look at life different today just from that one day years ago with my brother. Now with my illness, I am stuck in my comfortable surroundings; but I seek out what others are doing, how they think, are they hungry or cold; when I am able to get out from under my own roof.
Right here in my home town there are people in need. People who are hungry or cold, who need us. They may need a dollar or two or a meal from McDonalds and I am sure they need a prayer said for them as much as we need prayers said for ourselves.
So in conclusion; we need to step out of our comfort zone. We need to quit thinking of ourselves. We need to look for others who may look different or eat different but realize they need the same things as we do. To be cared about, to be loved, to be noticed.
I will never forget that teaching lesson from so long ago, sitting at the gas station, waiting to pump my gas and the man I helped. How it made me realize how lucky I am in life, how blessed and how much better I felt; helping someone.
Writing this has immediately taken me to the thought of beauty. I think I am going to use my camera to not only take beautiful nature, but to capture, or try to, the beauty inside each heart I pass.
The photo below is at my class reunion. I am the one on the bottom second from the right