What’d you do this morning? Meet anyone interesting?

I met a pretty, charming 46-year old woman who told me she’s been sober for a little over two years. It reaffirmed my faith in humanity and the power of people to change.

An inspirational way to start the day.

Look around. See how fortunate you are.

The plight of homelessness. Image courtesy of MorgueFile.

I volunteer with a group from my chamber at a local homeless shelter. Once a month, we buy ingredients and make breakfast for the residents. The menu is pretty consistent – scrambled eggs, shredded potato patties, sausage or bacon, bean salad, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. We cook, serve and clean up. Then we join the residents for breakfast.

The dining room is bright and cheerful with paper flowers on each table. Over breakfast, we have a little time to talk. The woman whose table I sat at this morning had just come in yesterday. I’d never seen her before. She was friendly and kind and happy to be there. And speaking with her made me happy to meet her.

She told me she’d spent the past two years in rehab and how glad she was to be sober. She spoke of the challenge of being around family and friends who still liked to drink and smoke weed. She was proud that she’d never been arrested, never been in jail.

I told her she should be proud of being sober for two years and pulling her life together. Most of us, whether through personal experience or friends or family, know how difficult that is. And how many fail to turn their lives around.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have shelter, a job and food, might sometimes take those basic needs for granted. Our lives get bogged down with the day-to-day annoyances – the traffic, the weather, the difficult boss. Sometimes it takes moving outside of your world to remember how blessed you are.

An article in MarketWatch states, “Americans are starting 2016 with more job security, but many are still theoretically only one paycheck away from the street.”

A scary thought. But the reality is even scarier.

This morning, I met a woman who made me think about how fortunate I am. Nothing in my life changed this morning. But a brief conversation filled me with gratitude for all I have.

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