Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The People We Meet In Our Lives

By Melody Schafer http://LivingFreeForever.com

When I was 15 years old I took a trip with my family to Spain to visit relatives. I found myself on the Rock of Gibraltar resting after a long walk, having a conversation with a woman in her late 20s who was from an eastern European country…I don’t remember which. She stopped speaking in the middle of what I thought was such a lovely time, talking about the beauty that surrounded us.

She leaned forward and almost in a whisper asked me what I thought about my president. I thought that was a strange thing to ask me, being I was just a kid and no one was around to listen. I felt like my answer would be a secret revealed to her.

Keep in mind this was before the Internet and cable TV, so unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer for her…other than a blank stare. She caught me off guard. My biggest worry at the time was making sure I got all my homework done since we were visiting during the school year and I was missing school.

I wasn’t really aware of what was going on in the world and did not understand anything about politics. I consider myself an easy going person who does not like conflict. I always try to do what I believe to be good and right. I love people no matter who they are or where they are from, unless of course they are trying to physically hurt me. I always considered myself to be an open-minded and accepting individual.

I did not realize some people outside the United States thought the President of The United States of America represented the thoughts of all people in my country and that whatever policies were in place or whatever the government was doing, represented all people here in the United States.

So I was honest and told her I did not know what I thought about the president. He was not even a thought to me at that age. She asked more questions and was shocked by my answers and told me she apologized for thinking ill of all Americans. She thought all Americans thought the same way. I don’t even remember what the questions were after all these years, but that conversation made a HUGE impact on that woman and on myself.  I believe she learned not to judge a group of people by one person in that group and I learned that there was a world of people out there who had different opinions other than my own.

Later that week, we took a ferry across the Mediterranean Sea to visit Morocco for the day. On that boat ride, I met several young people from different countries. Thankfully, we were able to communicate using English, Spanish and some hand gestures trying to explain what we were trying to say. It appeared we all had preconceived notions what people from the other country were like. We all learned that we could all get along, even if the leaders of our countries did not. We were not each other’s enemies. We had a wonderful time together and learned a bit about each other.

This is when I really understood the power of travel and how important it can be in an education beyond books. Meeting people in person, face to face, can change your life and how you perceive it. A total stranger can be the catalyst of something you do in the future that may be the most important thing you do in your life. You just never know.

We meet people in our lives who are in it for a short time or for a long time.  Sometimes the experiences we have with the people we meet can be good and sometimes not so good. Either way, we learn from our experience with these people.

Everything and everyone in our lives happens for a reason. We may not always know what that reason is, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is we can grow and change for the better because of the people we meet.

No comments:

Post a Comment