Tonight a strange thing happened. I felt a feeling I haven't felt in a long, long time. Let me explain!!! You see when I think about my past I try to remember things like the smell, the sound, and the sight. More times than not its a smell that takes me way back like a time warp. But with that experience I cant remember everything, only snippets of what was. That being said lets begin......
On my way to see a friend I passed by a building. No not just any building!! This particular building and I have a lot of history. Truthfully I have more history with this building than any other building or human being I have ever come across. Lets call this building Hope. I passed by Hope unexpectedly. As my eyes met my long lost friend memories started flooding my mind.
These memories came with feelings and emotions long lost and forgotten. Memories of my brothers and sisters ignorantly happy along with friends I used to know very well. The first memory that popped into my head was of me...yes me when I was just 8 years old. However instead of seeing the world through my 8 year old eyes, like one usually does when thinking about their past, I saw the world around this little boy.
This vulnerable, sweet, CUTE, and unsuspecting young man. Observing his actions, I wanted to know desperately what he was thinking. I wonder if he was thinking what I was thinking or if he was just there going off of his own observations of the world around him. I'd like to think he knew it all and that he could conquer the world but I know he couldn't for this little guy was just a boy in a world full of pain, stress, disappointment, and a lot of hard never ending work.
The longer I watched this little boy the more I began to notice the way he communicated. His facial expression reflected nothing but a smile and his hands seem to be made of curiosity. It was obvious that he was a happy little guy and he had no care in the world but of what was around him. He was so eager to learn and willing to commit. As I closed my eyes the world around him blinked and the image of this little boy had changed. It was about a year later.
He was now 9 years old walking into meet the friends he had made just a short time prior. They were asking him where he went and why he was gone for so long. This may strike you as odd, like it did me, but he handled himself quit well. It was obvious that he did not understand why he had to leave his home for a while but by his action I could tell that he did not care. He was still the same happy little boy.
The same smile, same look, same attitude, and he even seemed happier than the last time I saw him. This I still didn't understand for I knew what this poor boy had been through. What he saw and what he felt. The pain in is eyes as he was taken from his mom. I even felt the tears running down his face. The way his hands felt as they lost grip of what happiness he had known. For that period of time we will call Block. You see this little boy had only experienced small doses of this Block before but he never thought about it or the pain that it caused.
For it was something that he was used to and never really knew the difference. Maybe thats why it didn't affect him. Maybe that little guy is stronger than me. As these thoughts soared through my mind this little boys world blinked again but this time with a blinding flash. I looked up to see this boy setting at a table all alone. I didn't get what was going on. Yea he may have been a couple years older but he was surrounded by his friends.
The ones that always greeted him with smiles and laughter. It dawned on me that this little guy had experienced a little more of what we call Block. His mind was just starting to get a firm grip on reality and he didn't know what to think. As I watched him with tears in my eyes I started hearing these women say things to this boy. Things like "Your going to do something great, I just know it", "You have the prettiest blue eyes", "Giving up is the same thing as failing", "One day your going to be known all over the world, and the things that happened to you now wont have mattered at all", and my favorite "We all have bad days!!
Its what you do with them that matters!" More and more shot his way and every comment that reached his ear brought him up high and higher. The little boy started glowing again with the same pride and bright smile I had seen when he was younger. However this time I felt his pride. His will to succeed. I felt his heart and it was telling me to look closer. I began to realize that he had grown up at this time and experienced more of Block than anyone could ever throw at him....and sometimes he had doubts....and sometimes he felt like giving up....but Hope always whispered in his ear. I noticed that Hope was his shelter, his get away, his fortress of peace and comfort, and the guardian of which he looked up to.
Not only did Hope provide him with knowledge, and happiness. It also provided him with dreams and the passion and power to achieve his goals. In times of doubt Hope comforted him and kept him safe, even when they were far away from each other. I saw all of this in just a few short seconds. I started thinking about how brave this little boy was and I wished that I had the strength and courage to overcome the obstacles that this little boy had. I looked up and noticed that I had sub-consciously parked in front of this building we have called Hope.
As I started to observe this building, I read a sign that I had read over and over again. But this time it had much more meaning. The sign read "Morrison Elementary". My heart jumped as my thoughts began to regather themselves. That brave little boy went to this school....he stood by that wall...he played with his friend over there on that patch of crass. This was his Hope. Reality hit me as I began to realize that brave little boy was me. I started thinking about my life now and how chaotic and stressful it is.
The past couple of weeks have been all but peaceful. Honestly I have been thinking about giving up. You see prior to this strange phenomenon thoughts like these have gone through my mind: Maybe I'm not meant for college.....maybe I cant do this....maybe I have hit the finish line right were it started. Tonight changed that!! I cant imagine telling that 8 year old little boy that he can't and never will be successful. I know that little boy was destined for something. His pain will not be in vain.
To me giving up would be telling that vulnerable, sweet, CUTE, and unsuspecting young man that he was nothing. The Block represents all of those things that I could not control. Especially foster care. But I believe even more in my philosophy. That the pain we endure can be used as tools to help others. Ever amount of pain I encountered and every tear I cried was not for nothing. For every tear I cried there is another little boy who doesn't have those supportive teachers and friends. The stress and chaos I am surrounded by now is nothing compared to what that 8 year old ME went through or what hundreds of youth all across the world experience every day.
Giving up is not an option! :) It is my prayer that this finds you.....that God will help you touch the life of a youth who needs you. You need to understand that my Hope would not have been possible if it were not for God himself and the men and women he placed in my life at exactly the right time. Yes guys this is me.....Shady or Shaden, whichever you prefer.
I felt like I needed to share this with you. Perhaps it may be the most meaningful thing I will ever write and it just might be my first and last meaningful blog but I know the power it can have. I wanna keep that brave little boy alive and with me where ever I go. I will never forget this feeling of pride and respect that I have for myself. Thanks for reading.....sorry its so late but I couldn't sleep and I had to share!! :)