Things I Learned Yesterday

[As Ruairi has so tactfully informed me, I have not written a post for quite a while. So here it is.]

Yesterday I learned about poverty.
I went to visit a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen since the summer. She is 16 years old and lives by herself in an apartment duplex. Her apartment is bare apart from an ancient fridge and stove, and old black and white tv, a couple of chairs, a mattress, and personal effects such as three pairs of clothes, a couple of moth-bitten stuffed animals, and her toothbrush and hairbrush. I was shocked. I had no idea she was living this way.

Yesterday I learned about contentment.
This girl has every right to be angry about her situation. Estranged from her drug-addicted family, she lives on her own with no one to turn to. She walks everywhere she needs to go. She only eats one meal a day, and yet, she’s fine. She has no complaints about her situation. She is absolutely carefree.

Yesterday I learned about joy.
When I went to visit her yesterday, she opened the door with the hugest smile on her face. She told me how happy she was to be able to help other people in her new volunteer position at her school. She smiled as she told me all about her boyfriend, the “sweetest guy she’s ever dated”. She showed me her old ipod with a broken screen. She has no way of selecting songs, but it still plays music, and for that she’s joyful. She told me about her little nephew, about how he loves to run through the house when he’s over. Before I left, she showed me her assortment of stuffed animals and told me to pick one. Her joy in living was as infectious as a child’s.

If she, who has so little, can find joy and beauty in seemingly insignificant things, who am I to complain about anything?

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