This semester has given me a lot of time to think about people. We live in a society now where a lot of people my age go around saying "I hate people." I'm guilty of saying this. Because, you know, sometimes people just really get under your skin, and humans can be really, really ignorant, stupid creatures. Sometimes I think dogs think more before they bark than we do before we speak. However, just because there are some people who make life a little more frustrating, does that mean that one person should ruin everything? It's like blaming the entirety of Christianity for one fanatic, extremist Christian. One person does not speak for the entire population. Which is why going around saying things like "I hate people" really isn't healthy. A) as my mother has always told, hate is a really strong word, and B) We're stuck with humans. We're not going anywhere anytime soon, so we better get used to each other.
Despite the loudmouths and ignoramuses in the world, there are some pretty great humans in this world. I've had the pleasure of knowing some of the best. Some are temporary, haven't stayed in my life. But they've all taught me something.
Like this lady I got to know over this past week, Miss Denny. I've met her once before through a friend of mine. But she was visiting this week, and last Saturday we helped at an aid station together for the Chickamauga race. Watching her cheer on the runners, bringing a smile to their faces as they hurried past, just made my day and made me think about the other wonderful people that I know. Let me just character profile this woman for a second:
- Miss Denny is an elderly woman with white-blonde hair and the bluest eyes.
- Her smile reaches her ears.
- Everything you say she listens to.
- When the runners ran past, she shouted, "Good Morning! Congratulations! Look how far you've come, at all you've accomplished! Give yourself a pat on the back! You can do this!" (I need her in my ear when I run)
- She loves the South. (I've never heard anyone other than people here say that they love the South)
- She thinks living in the South makes you prettier (I think it's because of all the sweet tea)
- She loves living with her oldest daughter and loves all her kids and grandkids and metaphorically adopted kids.
- She's one of the most humble people I've ever met.
- She's basically an angel.
I don't know when I'll get to see Miss Denny again. Maybe never. Maybe she'll come back to Chattanooga before I graduate. But even if I never see her again, I've met her. And that's what matter. She's made an impression on me, and I will never forget her. She taught me what encouragement is, and how people appreciate kindness. And this is only from spending a couple hours at a race together.
I'm beyond blessed that God placed her in Chattanooga when he did. She's one of those people who just touches lives with just a warm smile or a shout of encouragement. I know those runners were talking about her after the race.
Some people are meant to stay in our lives, and others are meant to just make an appearance. They all teach us something, and they leave an impression. My mom is one of my best friends, and I know she's not going anywhere. I still can't believe that I've been best friends with Kylee for eight years despite the 630 miles between us for the past four. I've had friends come and go. I've met amazing people for only a couple hours who've left a huge impression on me. People are just amazing that way.
So stop closing people out. Open yourself up. Put your phone away when you're sitting on the bus or in the coffee shop. Say hello to people, or at the very least smile. People are not all bad, and if we go around thinking that, or assuming that they will be so before we even meet them, we're going to make our own lives horrible. What do you say?
Hugs and Smiles,
Hannah E. Rials