For one of my classes I do volunteer PR work for a non-profit, Project Read, based out of the Provo City Library. This week, we are assigned to write a feature story for our organization, so I met with a man, Eddie, to interview him.
As I walked up to the Library I noticed B-Money exiting. And as soon as he saw me he walked over to me, shook my hand and started to talk. For those of you who have not been graced by B-Money's presence, let me introduce you:
B-Money is from Provo, he's mentally challenged and he's a rapper. He's become an icon throughout Provo, and whenever you talk to him it's as though you're best friends. He's genuinely interested in people (last year Taylor ran into him at Smiths at 6 a.m. buying envelopes to write missionaries) and he has a powerful testimony that he bares easily and without pretense. Basically, he's popular because he's a horrible rapper (see proof here) and because he's everyone's friend. As he came to say hi I told him what I was up to and then he said he was going for a walk because the day was so beautiful. He then invited me to join him. Just like that. After declining he made sure I had his number so we could go for a walk sometime, if I wanted.
"I just want you to know, I got your back. I mean it."
and then as I walked away he turned around to yell, "Good luck with your interview!"
As for Eddie, he is a student at Project Read, getting tutored on spelling and reading, so he can pass his GED. He was pleasant to talk to: soft spoken and articulate. However, I walked out feeling depressed. Here was a 26 year old man, about five feet tall, blond hair and grey eyes, who grew up in a trailer home in "the most ghetto part of Utah" in a "dysfunctional home" surrounded by narcotics and abuse, who struggles with ADHD, bipolar disorder and potentially dyslexia, but smiles, talks about his hopes and dreams, and his choices to be an adult and get away from bad situations.
As I drove home, I realized that these interactions played perfectly on the most tender parts of my personality. Here are people who deal with shit-bad-luck, but do absolutely the best they can with the situation they were given. They have hope for the future, they are friendly and genuine and they are joyful. That's what it is, Eddie and B-Money are full of joy. Eddie was full of joy at improving themselves, both through reading and classes at UVU, he was full of joy at living and enjoying the nature of Utah. Bryan (B-Money) was full of joy at the day, at meeting a friend and being able to care for someone else.
And what about me? I feel sorry for myself, I struggle to accentuate my talents and I want to be better than other people without wanting to work for it. I do want to help people, and I know I'd get that fulfillment through one-on-one work, like tutoring, but it feels so small-scope it's not something I find myself wanting to do. And maybe that's exactly why I need to do it. I don't need to add more to my life, I just need to spend the time reaching out to others as genuinely and easily as two men did today.