During middle and high school I was known for being a teenage advisor amongst my peers. I would choose to eat my lunch during morning breaks most times with the intent to be totally free during lunch to walk around our school grounds and to be available to talk and pray with any particular fellow student. I came across a vast amount of teenagers with personal problems and I felt very obligated to be used as a positive voice in their lives at such a vulnerable time.
Problems ranged from: some students were being physically abused by family members or friends of the family. Some were being abused emotionally to the point of not feeling good about themselves. There were others experiencing poverty to the point of only eating lunch from school. These are just a few to give an idea of some of the things children go through. A great number of these students were not functioning at their optimum best because of the unfortunate situations they were facing. I didn’t have time to self absorb in my personal issues. I just couldn’t. My peers, my friends, my school mates needed me.
Once lunchtime came around I was ready to search for anyone in need of a listening ear. Most times I chose to listen because I felt this was what they needed. Other times I prayed with them after hearing what their immediate unfortunate circumstance was. I found myself counselling at times and that was ok and accepted by them. They were open to receive and receptive of what I was sharing with them. I felt like this was my duty and a call for that very moment in time. I couldn’t explain why nor did I need to find out why. I simply accepted the call.
One of my most memorable encounters was with a student named Rango. He was very impressionable. He expressed his feelings without reserve. He sought me out at times just to let out pent up feelings that he would not share with anyone else. I prayed relentlessly for him and his future. I prayed that he would grow up to be someone that would easily make right and sound choices that would protect and allow him to experience a stable future. After graduation I moved away to another country. I have periodically thought of him, wandering if he was okay, if he had a family that he loved and cared for, and if he was still alive living as a decent contributing citizen of society. On rare occasions I dread the thought that he might turn out to be the opposite of my well wishes towards him. Being the positive person that I am, I hardly entertained those negative thoughts of him. I always told him about the great potential he had within and it would be up to him to bring it out.
After 25 years of not hearing or seeing him a small part of me thought he was dead, but there he is, right in front of me on the street, smiling at me. Surprised is an understatement. So many emotions came over me. I was not sure what to say or how to say it. I was flabbergast. I happy and grateful, mainly because he is alive and well and if a book could be judged by it’s cover, I’d say he’s a great human being experiencing the best that life has to offer.