I am constantly amazed at how the abilities of young people can touch the lives of others. Their maturity and insight are quite often dismissed or ignored by their elders. . There is a freshness, a feeling of hope in them that is simply contagious. I am overwhelmed with the kindness and selfless patience shown to me daily by busy kids who could find many other things to do.
Without drowning in the agony that put me where I am today, I wanted to find a way to thank two young teens for helping me take the first step towards healing. When it seemed I had reached rock bottom in my efforts to see what I still have, they took me to beautiful places, let me enter their world, shared their time and thoughts with me, and made me feel valued and needed. I caught myself smiling, even laughing, entwined for a moment in a world beyond my own.
The rushing waters surrounded us as we played on river rocks and took silly pictures. They rode with me to a tiny town beside a river, walked with me through a history festival, listened, laughed, made me part of their day. We breathed in the fragrance of goats milk soaps and beeswax candles in whispered delight. We listened to tales of our heritage, we drank warm soft drinks and put raffle tickets in a shoe box. They never complained of being tired or bored. When I tried to apologize for being less than pleasant company, they assured me that they didn’t see me that way at all.
They told me that my honesty, my being interested in their lives and thoughts actually made them feel close to me. They said that I appreciated their knowledge, rejoiced in their successes,that I let them speak their minds without criticism or lectures. I spent time with them.
I thought of all the days, months, years,that I had needed to be that person again. As we passed a line of treasured cars that came off the line around the year I was born, I heard them talking about how beautiful they were, how well they’d been cared for. I saw my reflection in the glass of one of these cars, and realized that I was still valued too. I was beautiful too. I mattered to someone, too. I felt a lightness in my step, the wind in my hair, I felt alive.
As we rode home, I told them how much they meant to me, how they brought me joy. Even as I felt a tear trace my cheek, I smiled at them through the rear view mirror. They brought the groceries in before I had time to ask. An elderly neighbor called, needing help changing a light bulb, and they were rushing off to assist her before I could even hang up the phone. A while later, they raced back out with me when we were surprised by a call that I had actually won the raffle!
For the first time in years, I felt like I might be able to face tomorrow without anger or sorrow or grief overwhelming even a moment that should bring joy. I though of how many times they had helped me watch my grand kids when I was tired or in pain. I remembered them sharing with me a poem they had read or a news story that touched their hearts. My neighbor told me that when she offered to pay them for changing the light bulb, she was, instead, paid with a hug and an offer to “help her anytime she needed it”.
I often hear people say that the youth of today are spoiled and selfish, that they are disrespectful or rude, ungrateful for their easy lives and expensive electronics. I ask them not to judge the many fine young people by the actions of a few. These teens often embody the best of what we strive to attain as adults. Through their young faces, I see compassion, a sense of caring for the people around them and the planet they live on. I am confident that they will make the world a better place. After all, it is a world that will belong to them, not to those of us who came before them.
Open your eyes to the beauty of these young people who persist in believing in themselves. They are fighting for a world with less prejudice and more kindness, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Partake of their gifts and tell them they are valued. Encourage them, believe in them, listen to them. You might surprise yourself and learn something yourself in the process.
gifts from two young teens
you have what I need to heal
smiles time joy love hope