Behind the Scenes: A Whole Bunch of Poor People

You may not know it, but inside of you, you have this amazing ability to produce things that are not even in existence yet.  Whether it be a story, a song, a child, an equation, a solution, perhaps an etch a sketch (Idk).  Unfortunately, for me and you, it usually takes a little bit of pressure to be able to create something that is lasting.  

This short story is the result of one script, four people, one lucky ceiling fan, and a man named Glenn who was not thrown off when I approached his truck to ask if we could film in his store.

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This story is based on my interactions during my experience as the director of a local non profit. This story is also the result of one thousand things going wrong and one thousand new things to learn in a short amount of time as the director of this organization. 

But that was okay, because I was a magical fairy ready to spread my love, peace, and joy over an organization that would surely change the hearts of mankind.

So it all began when I, as any fresh faced yuppie, had romantic visions of what it would be like to serve the poor, the disadvantaged, the elderly, the homeless.  My optimism dissolved over time as I was at a loss with how to address some of the situations that arose. 

Like the instance I’m striking up a conversation with a man who tells me his ear was bit off by a family member in a recent fight that sent him to prison.  He goes on to describe an event that more or less could have been cannibalism.  Do you politely laugh?  Do you cast out a demon?  Do you pretend what he shouted didn’t just happen?

Even the time when a person who comes in day after day reeking of body odor and forever will not listen to me when I say “keep your shoes ON” complains that the soup is too cold after his third bowl.  Do you or do you not smack him?

But I kept my apron strings tied and my smile glued on as I balanced new things like accounting and budgeting and deposits and tax exempt forms.  I picked up exotic groceries every week and most 10am workers at Wal Mart now know me by name as we’ve all collectively learned that the coconut milk is located in the International food aisle.  Tricky, you’d think it’d be in dairy.

These things are all petty.  The real kicker was trying to get the churches involved.  The part where I go speak and try to get pastors and leaders and people who know Jesus to donate part of their time because good God don’t know you it’s a worthwhile cause?? And when the response was close to zero, I sensed that familiar hand of failure creeping in. 

Have you ever been at your edge?  Have you ever been at that point where you are battling bitterness and disappointment and frustration and all you feel is the pressure and the whisper of failure taunting you? 

All of these things mixed together could lead to a person’s nervous breakdown and declining emotional health.  But it can also lead to your next important moment.  That moment when you take all of that pressure and all of that fury and you use it to create something new and something meaningful.

Call it un/righteous indignation, whatever it may be, this story is about the perceptions the middle class build of the poor and the perceptions that the poor build of the middle class.

Whether you relate to the story or not, my question to you dear dream chaser- what is giving you intense pressure in your life right now?  What are those voices saying to you that are promising failure in your endeavors?   Don’t be fooled, you have what you need inside of you to turn your biggest disappointments into your next great creation.

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Special thanks to Giuseppe, Jeanne, and Lesley.  Thanks for believing in this story and donating your time & skills 🙂

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