Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012 12:52:44 AM
For fifteen years, I have viewed friends and strangers alike through a pink lens, content to believe that everyone is just as fortunate as I am. Not everyone lives “la vie en rose,” a blissful life of happy rainbows and twittering birds. Never did I suspect that the kind stranger greeting me at the store could suffer the greatest horrors. Here is the harsh truth: he lives a life etched in dull gray, complete with black storms and cawing ravens. He has fought hunger (the toughest opponent) alone in a decaying boxing arena, drained with every painful pang and punch. When he has lost his round, battered and bruised, his weary eyes widen as each proceeding victim falls more heavily than before. Why is hunger the cruelest adversary? Its opponents, young and old, are forced to fight alone. It is time to end this madness.
Seventh grade was my ‘year of discovery’ about hunger’s lurking shadow. I first learned from my friend June how she contributed to ending this dreadful affliction. Each year, June would participate in a Christian fast-a-thon, where she would refrain from eating for 24 hours. After each experience, she and her fellow Christians would donate their hard-earned money to relieve as many people as possible of their hunger. Immediately, it crossed my mind that I, too, could make a difference in the lives of the hungry. Alas, three words reared their ugly heads: others will help.
In seventh grade, I ran varsity track and had my first encounter with “hunger,” as I had called it. I remorsefully recall one track meet in early May, a day of blistering heat where standing alone could make a runner sweat bullets. For lunch that day, I had eaten more than enough to satisfy my hunger. Later, I had successfully run my 2400-meter event, finishing third. As the meet wore on, however, my growing body became more desperate in its craving for food. I had dubbed this “starvation.” I still remember crying pitifully as I called my dad to bring Subway sandwiches home as soon as possible. Yes, I had complained of not eating for eight hours when millions have gone for days without nourishment. Looking back, I know that my foolish idea of hunger was terribly amiss.
In 2013 and in years to come, I will step down from my lofty clouds and dabble in the ripples of the real world, scaling the lands far below. I will volunteer at local food banks, including Gleaners Food Bank, to help my fellow Hoosiers. Why is this sudden seizure of initiative important? This time, there are no “vows,” or “I-plan-to’s,” just the all-important “will.”
Will. What does this word mean? “Will” means ‘sure to do something’. “Will” means ‘determined to carry out a plan of action.’ I love the sweet sensation of this word on my tongue, and I am sure the epiphany will spread.
Dear Kind Stranger, you do not have to fight round two alone. Here I am.