Every so often my mom and I volunteer with a local organization called Compassion Planet. It is located at a small church and on Sunday evenings they have hot food for anyone who needs a meal.
My mom and I serve food to the people who come by – some live out of their cars, some don’t have a home and others just need a free, warm meal.
Twice now I’ve seen this one girl, a high school student who is probably 18 years old, at the church.
After I saw her the second time, I really started thinking about why it is that the meal we gave her was the only food she had eaten all day.
Why was she born into a family where she and her mother don’t have enough money to eat comfortably? Why is her mother a drug addict, and how much of their money is used buying drugs? Why was I born into a family where we’ve never had to worry about how much food would be on the table that night?
I didn’t do anything to receive the good family I was born in – I just showed up.
Do I deserve what I was born into? I probably deserve what I have just as much as the girl at the church deserves what she has. Nevertheless, here I am and there she is.
I don’t usually walk a mile in other people’s shoes that are so drastically different from mine. Imagining her life makes me realize just some of what we have that is seldom appreciated.
After serving her dinner and watching her interactions with others that Sunday evening, I started to imagine what her life is like. I started to think about what classes she takes at school, or if she even goes to school, what she eats when she comes home, if her friends were the other two kids in the room, if they go to school with her and where she sleeps every night.
Just an hour before I started speculating about this girl’s life, I was stressing about my AP tests.
When I realized how one moment I was thinking about my problems, nearly all concerning standardized testing, and then the next moment I was thinking about this girl’s problems, nearly all concerning her basic health needs, I thought ‘Wow, my problems are so trivial and insignificant.’
But then I realized that our problems are indeed struggles. We all have our own challenges and they are also important but if passing or getting a 5 on an AP test is the main worry, then we’re probably doing reasonably well in life.
I forget that every school is not like ours, that every student is not like the typical Granite Bay student, and that everyone does not have what we consider insignificant.
It’s difficult to put our problems into perspective but taking a step back to see where we truly stand can help us realize how fortunate we truly are.