A friend once told me that I am the most hope filled person that he’s ever met. I guess maybe he’s right. I don’t know that its the best quality a person can have, it’s got its own complications. I do however, try to see the good in people, I have always found something positive in everyone I’ve met. Sometimes you have to look real hard, but its there. I think that’s why I do the things in life that I do. My work as a counselor has it’s moments, like when I’ve worked with a client for hours and hours over days and days and I feel like they’re getting it. They’ve reached their threshold and can see a reason to finally move forward with their life. Then the next time you see them they’ve gone back to a terribly abusive situation. That’s not the point that I give up, in fact, that’s the point that they need continued support and encouragement the most. Because when they’re ready and not a second before then… that’s when they’re gonna remember the tools you taught them. That’s when they’re going to change their life. Watching someone as they find their inner gifts, that’s what hope is all about.
I learned those same things in caring for foster children. There was a 14-year-old girl who came from a youth shelter. She had been through the ringer. She was smoking and drinking and had a 21-year-old boyfriend. Her mother was unable to control her and her dad was cooking up meth in a home with no running water. When I looked at her I didn’t see a lost hopeless teen. I saw a treasure waiting to be discovered. She had no idea that she had something beautiful and spectacular inside of her. What she needed was someone to notice her. Someone who would take the time to look beyond the mask she wore to survive in her world. During the year and a half that she gave to us, she transformed herself into a talented young woman. She had been failing every class in school, but she graduated early at 17 and went on to manage a restaurant and get her cosmetology license. She now has her own daughter and is a very good mother. All because someone gave her a little time and a lot of Hope.
Wheels had left me a message on the dating site. He wanted to know if we could talk on the phone and left his number. Of course I called. He is the most hilarious guy! I felt immediately comfortable with him. It felt like we’d been friends for ages. Then he asked me if I had looked at his profile picture. I told him that I had, that he was sitting by a deer he’d shot and was wearing an orange hunting vest. He said,” yes.. but did you see what I’m sitting on?” I said “yes, the deer”. He said “no, look again.” I wasn’t seeing the detail he wanted so badly for me to notice. Finally, I said.”just tell me what I’m missing here.” He said, “I’m in a wheelchair.”
I seriously hadn’t seen the wheelchair in his profile picture. I saw a nice looking guy dressed in hunting gear. I thought he was kneeling by the deer, but actually he was sitting in his chair. He was waiting for my reaction. He knew there’d be one. I responded, “How big was the deer?”
It’s those very moments in life that change the course of things. Wheels and I continued on with our lively conversation for nearly an hour. After I hung up, I began to think about Wheels and his wheelchair and how that would impact a romantic relationship. I seriously hadn’t considered that I might meet someone with a physical disability. It certainly didn’t send him to the done list by any means. I wanted to get to know him better.
Later this evening I got a call from Nod. He is quite a character. A Scottish character none the less. It isn’t often I meet someone with a Scottish heritage like I have. So that in itself creates a commonality with Nod. Earlier in his life he’s been a paramedic and also a pilot. Diversity reigns! I like to meet interestingly unique people, so when Nod suggested we meet tomorrow for lunch, I was more than pleased. We agreed to meet in Ames, Iowa at a very fun restaurant called Hickory Park. The atmosphere there is very upbeat with an ice cream menu that goes on for miles! After all of my recent meet & greets turning to dust, I’m looking forward to an afternoon with Nod.