On the side of the road

November 6, 2008
By Maria Velazquez, Dallas, TX

I would have never imagined that on that Sunday night I would come across something so impacting, something so divulging that would be etched in my mind for the rest of my life. After that night, I viewed things very differently.
While coming to a stop at a traffic light, there was a man on the side of the road asking for money. He was African American and was probably in his early fifties. His eyes softly glimmered in the light of the night. The thin rivers crossing his forehead, eyes, and cheeks reflected years of struggles and yet fulfillment. My sister rolled down the car window and we began talking to him. When we asked him how he was doing, he said he was very blessed and could not complain because times could be worse for him and probably were worse for other people. He was happy and I felt miserable. We drove off and he stayed there silently in the breeze of the night. So many things came to my mind at that moment. I could not resist and cried silently on the way home. I realized how ungrateful I had been. The man on the side of the road did not have legs or a home and faced daily challenges, but yet he could not complain. The thin veil blurring my sight collapsed before me.
After crying and feeling so miserable, I could not do anything else than come to realization and feel truly grateful. We arrived home but before stepping out of the car, I stayed there, still. I looked back at all the times I complained about meaningless things, so insignificant and selfish. After encountering with the man on the side of the road, I feel evermore grateful for the roof above my head, my home, my family, my life, and my struggles.

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