I knew he was going to ask me for money before he even did.
“Excuse me, miss?”
He was young and dark-haired, sitting on the floor against the wall of Walgreens. I walked over.
“I hate doing this, but I just got out of jail and I can’t get a job and my life is a mess but if you’ve got some spare change…”
I rummaged through my wristlet. “What’s your name?” I asked.
“Funny, my name is Jackie,” I said as I handed him a bill.
“Thank you, I appreciate it. When I get back on my feet I will pay it forward…”
“I hope so.”
Was he lying to me? Did I only contribute to his drinking habit? Had I just been swindled? I don’t know, and quite frankly, I am tired of those questions. Obviously he is in a state of despair, a very low place. Why is he there? And more importantly, will he one day be able to turn his life around, change? Can he? Does he want to?
Change requires courage. It requires acknowledging that you are worthy of said change, of different, of better. It also means possible failure; not all change will have a positive outcome. Change means stepping into the unknown and just going for it, blindly.
Earlier today, my mother and I were on the small front porch of our house, taking in some sun. I was lying on my back, my curly head on her lap.
“Si esta preparada para irse?” Are you ready to leave? “You need to be brave and go. You have to do it.”
I watched the clouds go by. What she was really asking me was: Are you ready for change? Can you change? Do you want to?
And honestly, I cannot answer those questions with complete resolve.
For Jack, change means getting up from against the wall. For me, it means getting on a plane. We are both comfortable where we are; it is what we know. We don’t know what will happen next once we do. Will it be worth it? To change, we have to fight against the trembling of our legs, the fear in our guts. We have to admit that we are more than what we have been settling for, that we can do better. And though it sounds counter-intuitive, that may be the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.