I find myself sometimes extremely cynical about the human race and just when I am sure I am ready to give up all hope, I find someone who inspires me to try one more time to have faith in my fellow man and stick around for a little while longer.
Beginning Jan. 29, I saw or experienced three things that have made a difference and thought I would share them with you.
On Jan. 29, some students from Pickens County’s PreDestined Teen Outreach program visited our office to learn about the newspaper industry. Writing and journalism are a craft I have been working on for far too long to remember and a talent not everyone possesses. So I didn’t see an opportunity before it presented itself.
But all it took was a second of looking into their eager young faces and I knew they needed more than just a spit-polished presentation. These are kids who rarely see this side of the world, a world where professional pursuits take place and higher education is a requirement.
For some, everyday life is tough, much tougher than our own, and they are forced to grow up entirely too fast.
Children need to learn that dreaming and chasing those dreams IS what life is about and that they are much bigger than they believe they are. I hope I made some sort of difference, even if it was just one, because the impact will be like ripples on a pond, spreading in all directions.
On Jan. 30, I watched a football workout between some kids, young to high school ages, as they passed their morning working with an ex-USC quarterback once embroiled by his own immaturity off the field.
Stephen Garcia, without public knowledge, has been volunteering his time, travelling from Tampa, to work with kids in Easley. He has asked no credit from anyone to try and change some of the notions concerning himself.
He just does it because, as he told me: “If I had had someone to help me this way as a kid, I would have learned there is more to life than football.”
As a Tiger fan all my life, he wasn’t my quarterback and after spending time with him, I am ashamed for every joke I made at his expense. Whether he ever takes a snap in the NFL in the future, I have a renewed respect for him and what appears to be the beginning of at least a nominal friendship.
Finally, there is a woman in my life who reminds me so much of myself it isn’t even funny. She has been looking for fulfillment in her life as a person and even professionally and it has been a struggle for her.
I know it hasn’t been easy for her to be around me, in a sense, because I make people in that situation uncomfortable because I happen to do whatever it is that comes to mind I want to do. I figure out how or what then just roll with it, usually with no apprehensions.
Now, most people would assume fulfillment means money, a bigger paycheck, but not in this case. Money is the farthest thing from fulfillment where she is concerned, and no, she hasn’t found what she is looking for. But that’s not the point. The point is where she is looking.
I have watched, wondering what direction she would go, and I have to say it makes me smile as I watch her grow as a person, someone compassionate and empathetic, a real caring soul I am proud to call my friend if nothing else.
She wants to help, and that’s where it begins and ends for her. She has two children of her own who do not do without her love and attention, but knowing as she does the world is a large place and there is more to give than we know residing within us, she is enrolled to learn sign language and is exploring helping autistic children and their parents.
She and so many others are inspirations to us if we will just open our eyes and see them. Not only is it possible to make a difference, I have come to the conclusion it is our duty.
As you may have read here before, I just want to leave this place better than I found it, and with the help of people just like these, I think I can.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.