"Ruth, you know you inspire me, right?"
I wasn't faking modesty when I looked surprised. I was genuinely surprised. Because in all my 20-something years of existence, the last two are probably the most uninspiring I've ever felt in my life! I just don't feel like much of an inspiration lately. I know that will soon change, because I REFUSE to give up, but still, right now, it is what it is.
I smiled and asked, "Really? Why?" And I was honest. I wanted to know why.
"Because you've been fulfilling your goals. You're living your dream of working in media. You've always loved writing and you haven't stopped. You're getting ahead."
I laughed, and there was sarcasm in it. I mean, I appreciated the compliment, but she had no idea. So I flipped the script.
"Actually," said I. "People like you inspire me."
It was her turn to look sheepish and flabbergasted. "Me? No way. I just can't seem to get it together."
I nodded. "Yeah. I know a lot of people like that ... who just can't seem to get it together. But that doesn't stop them from trying. And I always respect people who, no matter what life throws at them, know how to pick up the pieces and carry on with what they have to do. Those are the real heroes - the silent champions .. and you're one of those."
She looked shocked and shy. But I meant it. She's much younger than I am ... just started university last year. She has no father to speak of. Her mother tried to sell her to men for money when she was younger. She was basically adopted and raised by a Catholic nun, who also paid what she could for her schooling. She has brothers and sisters all over this country - known and unknown. Her father was very generous with his seed. He understood the biblical directive to cast his bread upon the waters ... But despite all of that, she's in university studying the arts ... she's getting ahead.
Afterward, I was thinking that I know a lot of people like her. Coming from a small, rural community, I see stories like that pretty often - people who think they just can't seem to get it together who are actually doing pretty well. It's funny, because many times, if we stop looking so intently at ourselves and look around us, we'll see that the faults we constantly berate ourselves for can also be found elsewhere. We are not one of us perfect. But we are not one of us completely flawed either. There's good and bad in everybody. And that's reason to hope for all. I get inspired by people like my friend. Regular people ... very ordinary, who put the dare in dreams and the possibility in maybe.
Funny how that worked out. I inspired her. She inspired me. May the cycle of inspiration never end ...