Thursday, October 13, 2011

Land of Opportunity


They have value, you know. The ones thrown away. The ones left behind. Seemingly insignificant to a busy world that can't be bothered to stop for something that they consider to be too small to be of use, they glimmer in the sun, waiting to be found. And they add up.

Somewhere along the line I started to get the forgotten pennies mixed up in my mind with all the forgotten people out there. They are the working poor, barely an afterthought as they appear throughout the day. They are living in poverty in the shadows, the tremendous struggle never fully appreciated or understood except by others in the same position. For reasons that are never spoken, they won't be going to college, they aren't going to be entrepreneurs, today's answer from those who have made it in their own lives. The forgotten people, who had maybe lost a cherished job after working so hard for years, becoming another statistic on the charts. Maybe unforeseen tragedy, illness, events too large to overcome had befallen them. Or maybe they simply got tired of climbing the slippery ladder, and had given up on trying to win a race that is rigged to benefit those who lie, those who abuse others, those who only serve themselves. And they let it go. They just let it all go.

Yet they wait, still they wait to be found. And appreciated. They have value.

I started picking up pennies on my daily walks. There is a certain zen to the pennies; if you're looking intently for them, the more elusive they become. But if you are thinking of something else, your mind far away as you casually look down to watch where you're going, there they are. Some are shiny new, and they can't be missed. Some are tarnished with age, and they blend into their surroundings on the ground. Some are found in the street, battered and scarred on their surface, more often than not bent beyond repair. Doesn't matter. It became a bit of an obsession after a while, collecting those pennies. They all have value. They add up.

My mind chastises me for still trying to save a world like this, a life-long foolish quest when at this point there is a serious question as to whether I can even save myself. But the forgotten, with nowhere to go, and all the time in the world to get there, they add up. And once found, they have purpose again.

They add up in this land of opportunity, if only someone gives them the chance.