Some time ago, I became aware that every person that enters one’s life, if only for a moment, has something to offer.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as a smile or a laugh.  However, if you search for it, they often have something much deeper to give.  We, too, have something to offer everyone we encounter.  What each of us has to offer is different, and what another person has to learn from us often varies based upon their own needs and experiences.  For this reason, I’ve come to tolerate people who I may not always care for.  In fact, it seems that it is often those who are most different from us that have the wealth of insight which exists in our encounters with one another.  In sharing and embracing these, we have the ability to share this wealth.

Knowing this and actively attempting to give and gain from everyone we meet works for the benefit of all.  I believe that it has the power to better us as individuals as well as remind us of the intrinsic value of every person, regardless of their similarities or differences from ourselves.  We build upon this non-material wealth that lasts a lifetime and is vastly beneficial to the betterment of our own lives, at the cost of sharing something that we do not give up in doing so.

This idea came to me before I came here to Woolman, but it has since proved to be true on so many occasions.  In class discussions, every person that speaks participates in sharing their perspective and interpretation of an issue, providing a new perception to all of those who may think in a different way.  Outside of class, I find it much the same.  Just the other night I stopped on the way to my cabin to exchange a few words with Michael, a teaching intern at Woolman.  What started as a brief chat turned into a conversation that lasted two or more hours.  It is truly amazing to realize that people have as much going on in their own lives and minds as you do!  When this is realized, it seems so obvious that this wealth is out there, in the minds of all who surrounded us, and that we all have access to it if only we take the time to seek it — and what a powerful thing it is to simply take the time to share such things, to listen to people, and give what we have to offer.