I had a conversation with a drug addict.
I’ve never experienced conversing with a person looking directly at me and my only thought being that I could not find the life in those eyes.
On my way home, I was exceptionally grateful for the sheltered life I had lived growing up. Even now as an adult I am still sheltered; seeing what I only want to see – shutting my eyes to the hijacking that may have occurred down the road; to the drug dealers on some vacant land or to the homeless people on each street corner. I am safe in my car and in my home. Shut out from the rest of the world because everything bad that happens only happens on TV.
When I was younger I was obsessed with the news (yes, really). It was when news time was at 8pm (not 7pm yet – can you tell my age?) I remember the 1994 elections and creating a poster on the new South Africa and all the different political parties for school for pure entertainment and for my own interest – side note: I didn’t even live in South Africa… second side note: I now understand why I was bullied. I do not think at the time I fully understood why it was such a big deal; I thought it was amazing that a new country could be created just like that! Years…many many many years later and I refuse to watch news. I refuse to read it (in fact I only read business news for work purposes) but cannot watch or read the general news because of the negativity. Because it only focuses on what is going wrong (and yes, I know there are many things going wrong) but once in a while, just to keep hope alive and give us all motivation, it would be great to focus on what is going right. On the people who (and I had the fortune of meeting a few) are selflessly trying to change one person’s world at a time. These are the people who inspire me to start looking at my world as it is; the good and the bad and search for how I can make a difference in someone’s world (even if the starting point is just making someone smile! – we all have to start somewhere right?)
I still may not want to read the news (yes, I will start again though…tomorrow maybe) but I hope I’ll be able to see past the doom and gloom and find an opportunity to do something different… and instead of saying “I had a conversation with a drug addict,” I’ll be able to say, “I had a conversation with a person who is a drug addict.” Maybe in that way, if I had then looked into her eyes I would have seen the life that she has in her.
As Rumi said, “Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” In this, I know that I may not be able to change the world, and nor in all honesty do I want to, but if I can appreciate the life I do have and the privilege I’ve been given thus far, it may influence another to do the same and in that, we may all end up where we need to be.