Last night/this morning, I had a dream that was so real that I sat up and had to ensure I was in my own home and in my own bed. I dreamed I was visiting this small town in NC where poverty and kindness are prominent. I was dining somewhere with good home cooking when I heard a few teenagers at a table behind me share with a comrade that he could eat a whole ….something if he wanted to. He agreed. As is my nature, I was tuning in and out of the conversation…it wasn’t MY conversation so why use my energy to listen to it? Anyhoo, my ears perked up when I overheard something along the lines of, “…Man, I’m not going to college. I’ll probably die by the time I’m eighteen.” My heart broke. I wondered, Should I now intrude on this convo? Yep, I must. And so I did. I turned around briefly to see to whom I would be speaking. It was a teenager-looking Caucasian male with brown-reddish hair who was quite heavy for his height (he was sitting so I couldn’t be certain). He didn’t look uncomfortable but he looked like he was heading towards difficulties with movement and breathing if he continued to become obese. Our backs were to each other and I was positioned so that my chair was to the right side of his. I leaned back and began,
“Excuse me, young man. I couldn’t help but overhear a smidge of your words. Why do you think you will die by 18 years of age and not make it to college?”
“Look lady, I’m 14 and 238 pounds. I’m smart but my family is poor and so is this town. Getting out is hopeless, so I’ll continue to enjoy food until I die, which might be by 18 if I keep eating the way I do.”
“Hmmmm, well, it’s unfortunate you feel that way. If you use your smarts to do well in school, there may be resources to help you go to college. But, if you eat your way to an early grave, that’s your choice to make. Look, young man, we don’t know each other, but I beg of you to consider a future with you in it. Find a different path.”
I cannot recall the rest of the dream but I know that it ended with a look from him that said, I’m considering your words, lady, but I don’t know. I don’t know you and you don’t know my situation or my future.
Any you know what my dear reader? He would be correct – we didn’t know each other, I certainly didn’t know his family situation nor what his future would hold. He’s a teenager. How much control does he have to make the needed changes? Hmmmm, so what do I make of this dream? Encourage people even when I feel it isn’t my business to do so, listen more carefully to what others are saying, eat less myself so that I do not go from a fairly healthy plump person to obesity induced health issues, research scholarships for smart, young people in poverty!?!?!?! I don’t know. I’ll have to ponder. I do know that his plight is real. Why the situation hit my dreams, I’m still figuring that out. Just thought I’d share. Tootles!