We spend our youth clawing our way through the words and pictures and ideas that are thrown around us, telling us who we are or who we should be. It’s a strange land to navigate.
Every single one of us has a different story from this time in our lives. Some were blessed to have peaceful surroundings that gave them the space to grow at a proper pace and a place to retreat when the world got a little too ugly. Some weren’t so lucky and they had nowhere to turn when things were too heavy for them to carry.
I have been fortunate enough to meet more people than I ever imagined, and what I’ve come to learn is that even when people had nowhere to run, some just plowed through. They took the hits and kept going, even when they had no idea if there would ever come a day when the hits would stop coming. These people have always fascinated me. When someone has every right in the world to give up, but they never do, I always want to get to know them and their story all the more.
I’ve went back and forth on whether I’d rather be the person who had the more peaceful life, or be the one who had to fight through all the setbacks.
While most days I wish things had been a bit different, I couldn’t help but to have looked around, at many different points in my life, and been grateful it just wasn’t. Maybe I had to learn things the hard way most times, and didn’t have a safety net to fall into if things went sideways, but the lessons I’ve learned and the way that has shaped my heart is worth more to me than an “easy” life.
I’ve met so many people who had a solid safety net. Unfortunately, the majority of them never took full advantage of that and they never did reach their full potential. I don’t even mean they never turned into a successful person. What I mean is they never realized how great they could be because they were never challenged enough to where they had to find out.
On the other hand, I’ve watched people who have had to fight against the current, reach heights that have made me cry tears of joy from being so proud of them and the fact that they never gave up…and it was all worth it.
The thing I love most about cheering people on when they can’t see their full potential is that you get to say the most beautiful version of “I told you so” when they reach their mountaintops. It may be one of my favorite things ever, actually.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter to me whether someone had support or not, it’s what they did with whatever they had that truly matters. None of us can help whether or not we have support. We can be angry or bitter or jealous at those who do. We can look down on those who are constantly working through setbacks that were never their fault. We can decide if we want more. We can decide if we’ll let it all defeat us.
No matter where you fall in these categories, you still have mountaintops waiting for you. They are yours and yours alone. Even if you feel like someone reached yours before you could get there, that’s not the way it works. Yours will always be waiting for you to decide you want to get there.
I think this is how we find out who we are. We find out by taking a look at how we use our resources to help others. I don’t necessarily mean money. We all have resources to help others. It’s almost like we all have our own toolbox and God knew exactly what to pack in each one because He knew exactly who’d we meet along the way.
For some, maybe it is money they use to help others. For others, maybe it’s kindness. Maybe it’s cheering them on when they feel like giving up on their mountaintop dreams. Maybe it’s showing someone how they deserve to be talked to, how they deserve to be loved, or even the one who helps them to be able to see the next step they should take to get them to where they belong.
So, forget all of the words ever spoken to you to that made you feel less than. Forget every photo you have ever seen that made you feel less than. Forget about the times you may have been treated differently because you did have a safe place to land, which helped springboard you to your mountaintop. Forget about the fact that it has/is taking you longer to get there because you didn’t have traditional help.
All you need to remember is that if you are fortunate and you are reaching back to throw someone rope out of your toolbox, you are helping people. Again, it doesn’t have to be money. It could be a million other things like your time, your encouragement, even helping them get their next job or introducing them to someone you know has the tools they may need. If you are the one needing to grab onto that rope, you are still helping people because they see you not giving up. They see you accepting help along the way from those put in your path with the tools just for you.
Use your toolbox. It’s kind of the gift that keeps on giving and when you’re all done here, most of the people you helped will then have their own tools to continue passing along the help.
We’re all trying to reach our own summit, right? They are all different heights and we all have different lessons to learn along the way. We all have talents and gifts we can use to help. I think they get multiplied when used for good.
The neatest thing about the journey is learning who we are. That is something you can only do with time.