Tonight my family and I went to see the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" at the theater.
My mind is still reeling and the salt has dried on my face from all the tears. I yearn to write about this experience and yet, my words are failing me right now. It's so difficult to put into words all that ran through my brain as I watched this story unfold.
What began as an interesting story about the man who overcome such stiff odds...became deeply personal as my mind shifted into digging up old memories that have been hidden away for so long. The days this man and his son spent homeless...and the desperation of a father seeking to provide a better life...sometimes barely surviving in the process...it all seemed so real, so personal...so familiar.
Recently I have mentioned to friends some of the facts of my own period of homelessness when I was a teen. What were just passing comments suddenly fell upon me like an avalanche as I watched this movie. How frightening it is to view this situation as an adult! When I was 14, my mother, brother, sister, along with an aunt and four of her children, ended up homeless in our escape from an abusive home situation. However, at the time, it seemed more of an adventure to me than a hardship. I had on my shoulders none of the burden of our survival. As I watched the turmoil and stress that Chris Gardner endured during that time of his life, I thought of what it must have been like for my mother in 1984. We have spoken about it since my entry into adulthood...and she did confess a stark feeling of terror that came over here at different points in that time frame. Desperation drove her to flee a bad situation...during which time she turned back to the Lord she had learned about as a child. I fully believe with all that I am that it is He who carried us through that dark time...providing every need through a variety of kind souls and organizations. I am so very thankful!
Something else that was overwhelming for me was seeing all the homeless people depicted in this film. It doesn't matter what brought them to that point...they were all the same...human beings in desperate need of the basic necessities of life. The sharp contrast was not lost on me that my life now is so far removed from those days of my upbringing. Gone are the days of having to scrape together loose change and count pennies to purchase basics like toilet paper and soap.
Would I recommend this movie to others? ABSOLUTELY! It's a remarkable tale of survival and the rewards that follow determination and tenacity. But I warn you, if you see this movie, you may emerge from your darkened theatre seat with a new outlook on life. A new appreciation for the blessings you enjoy...and, hopefully, a desire to look around you to the situations of others who may need a helping hand or an encouraging word of hope. Mr. Gardner hid his true circumstances well. How many around us may be in similar circumstances?
I am faced yet again with the question of how I can make a difference in this world. The answers are many...I am sure. Tonight, I am reminded of the boxes of clothes I have in storage that I keep for that "someday" when can once again fit into them. My frugal side wants to hold onto them so that I am not wasting the money used to purchase new ones as I shrink down to my former size. However, I am convicted by the reality that there are women out there who could fit into them NOW...and they may have little hope of being able to afford to buy suitable clothing for themselves. Who honestly knows how many days I even have left? I may never again get the opportunity to wear them...or, if I did get to that size again...I could afford to purchase new clothes. There is simply no excuse that I can find to justify leaving perfectly good clothing sitting around for the moths to chew on when so many are in need.
As I take the first steps in opening up the dam and allowing God's blessings to flow through my hands instead of trying to hold them tightly for my own, I am sure there will be other areas revealed to me where I can be a help to someone near or far. I pray that my eyes will be open and my heart will be willing...
Right now it's time to purge...time to share!