Yesterday I went for an early morning walk in the cold. I’m in a new climate and the only way I can acclimate is to actually be out in it. So, I put on all my Florida “winter wear” and took to the roads in the 20 degree morning refrigerator. A half hour later, I wound up at the local Goodwill store. It wasn’t yet time for the store to open and a half dozen men and women braved the cold out in front, waiting for someone to come and unlock the doors.
I walked up in the middle of an interesting conversation so I sat down of the brick wall to have a listen. A young man in his mid-thirties with very sad eyes told how he has a masters degree, was at the top of his field when he lost his job… and all his other worldly belongings. All he had left was the shirt on his back.
“I have a job interview today and can’t even buy a new suit.” He sounded panicked and rightfully so. He’d been out of work for over a year and had a lot riding on this interview. He was wearing faded jeans with holes in the knees and a tattered sweatshirt that said, “Get Naked”. He explained that he had to borrow the sweatshirt from someone so he wouldn’t get frostbite.
Just as a worker unlocked the doors, a woman locked her arm in his and pulled him into the store. “You stick with me. I’ll get you shined up like a new penny. I’m the master at being poor.”
I couldn’t help but go in and observe the “shining”. The older woman poured over the racks for discarded menswear and within a matter of minutes, had picked out a handsome ensemble. When the young man stepped out of the dressing room, his discouragement had been replaced with professionalism and confidence… all for $12.92.
I marveled at the resourcefulness this woman had. Hmmm… the ingenuity of the poor. Those individuals who are forced to find creative ways to stretch a penny. Who will convince their kids canned tomato soup poured over pasta is spaghetti. Who just know you can get eighteen oatmeal raisin cookies at the Family Dollar store for a buck.
As I continued my morning walk in the brisk autumn air, I realized this world belongs to them. Those who can take whatever comes and turn it into a success. As I left Goodwill, I meandered along the railroad tracks and said a prayer for that young man and his job interview. I also thanked God that he’s just learned how to create something magnificent out of nothing. I”m absolutely sure his masters degree had not taught him how to start all over again.
God said in the Bible that the meek shall inherit the earth. After witnessing the deliverance of a man from his plight on the concrete floors of Goodwill, I know they have what it takes to do just that. Shucks, the poor are going to conquer the world. In fact, they may already have!
Have you ever had to start all over again? What did you learn along the way? Share it here!