February 14, 2010
A few years ago, my friend was getting her Gold Award for Girl Scouts and I participated in a “Fun Fair” she organized, in a town next to mine for under privileged children and their families. I thought I was just helping my friend out by putting tattoos on little kids and giving out candy, but I was in fact was helping an entire community. My small-secluded world that consisted of my academics, social life, and sports was opened up to an entire different part of life. I saw the part of life that most people don’t see or choose to ignore because it is so horrible and upsetting. Luckily I found this part of life when I was young so that I could work to help and change it.
It was a scorching summer day and all of our friends gathered in a small side yard of a church located in run down neighbor hood- Plainfield where poverty was prevalent. It is directly located next to my middle-class-well-off-town, Scotch Plains. I remember leaving work early that day so I could get there on time. Surprisingly, it took me less than 10 minutes when I had expected it to take a lot longer. This baffled me because as I was driving, my town that has large properties with furnished homes disappeared with a blink of an eye and abandoned-broken-windowed houses were popping up everywhere. Without even meeting any of the city folk I could already tell that even though this place was ten minutes from my house, it was yet so far from home.
I was a confused 17-years-old and I was naive to the world. I thought that God had this wonderful plan for everyone and kept every little child warm in their bed safe in their home, just like I was every night. This relates to the poem we read this week God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I believe in the power of God’s greatness and his presence that he can do wonderful things for all of the inhabitants of the world. I started to become angry with Him when I saw the state of this town, I doubted His power and ability to make every thing good. I did not realize that my friends and I were His greatness. For that day, He sent all of my friends and me to help make part of this town better. Even if we made one child smile for 10 minutes it would be better than not having them smile at all. In the poem the author may be referring to a dove, “World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.” The fun fair that day was filled with doves, making all families laugh and smile, so even if it was for just a second, they could forget the misfortunes of their lives and see the Grandeur of God.
After arriving, I parked my car and subconsciously made sure I locked it…twice. I did that because I wanted my car and my belongings to be safe. I think back and I don’t see why I felt superior to the people of that city just because I had nice belongings. I was lost and flawed and a confused teenager that had just as little direction in life as these people. This relates to the story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor because the grandmother in the story feels superior to everyone else. She wears her pretty hat and dress proudly during travel comparing herself to her poorly dressed daughter in law because she wants to feel better than her, more superior. Before she dies she realizes she is flawed like everyone else and that is how I felt when in this town. I am not perfect, I live off of my parents and that car technically isn’t even mine. Though the city folk of this town have different imperfections and issues I felt as though I finally realized I have flaws just like them.
During the fair, I felt a sense of inner joy because I saw how much fun the families were having. One mother was crying because she saw how happy her child was having just playing a beanbag toss with my friends and me. This in a way relates to the poem Happiness, by Jane Hirshfield because everyone has their own version of happiness. The littlest things made the children so happy and the parents even happier because they saw the joy inside their children.