Saturday, June 6, 2009

Small Gifts of Humility

About 2 months ago I was finishing up a mile jog on a soccer field in Newark. As I began to head home I saw a woman struggling with quite of few plastic bags. She also had one of those steel carts that older women use to carry their groceries. Her clothes were too big for her and she was very petite. To me she looked like a bag lady. However, she was seriously struggling so I offered to help her with her things. She told me she was going to class down the street at the local county college.

Honestly, I did not believe her, but helped her to campus anyway. She told me she was finishing up her A.A. degree at the end of the semester and had just been trying to make ends meet. I told her I was in school and could understand the "brokeness." She told me that a lot of people passed her up before I helped her and many thought she was homeless or some junkie. I kept my guilty, judgmental mouth shut as I listened. She thanked me and gave me some life blessings and dropped jewels of wisdom. We talked for a minute then I went home thinking about my preconceived notions. Although I still did not believe her story it was something about her that made me think of times I was mistaken for something I was not, and it was always an inferior assumption.

Then I learned a huge lesson. This past Friday I was going to get a pizza slice and I saw that same woman dressed in her cap and gown with her diploma jacket from Essex County College. I was shocked, embarrassed and proud. She told me, "I did it," and nobody believed. I was like, wow, not even me. She looked so radiant in her green ceremonial clothes. That day I learned a little something about my prejudices. For one, I got a lot of them. I am working on me.

Blog on...kns

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