SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 278: “Just Give Without Expecting”

“Success is the best revenge.” Says nurse Maribel, whom I meet this evening at a local blood drive…. a rather aggressive stance coming from a person who walks with sweetest of compassion and charm.

Instantly, I have to question Maribel’s outlook. It just feels out of character coming from a person who is all about helping others.

“Revenge against what?” I query.

Maribel is a champion for the underdog, “Just for people who always put you down. Who underestimated you… or feel the need to insult you in order to better themselves.”

I question again, “So, then, what is success?”

“Success is about being happy with yourself. No matter whatever weakness you have. Sure, you could have a million dollars, but you can still be miserable, or maybe a terminal illness and be miserable. But you could also be broke as a joke and be happy.”

It’s true; life does have a peculiar way of counseling us. And at its center, life is really not about gaining status or growing wealth beyond measure. It’s about discovery and learning. In my opinion, it is a schoolyard, and we are here to learn what we can before we depart from the Earths surface.

Our lives are full of experiences, what Maribel is proposing is this: That we need to look upon every daily experience as opportunities to learn. Even better yet, as gifts to learn from.

Now I promise you, I’m not looking at life with rose-colored glasses, I’ve had my days of homelessness, my moments of pain and regret and I’ve definitely lived my days of blame from both sides of the window.

There is no way to ignore the terrible circumstances we often find ourselves in, and writing this, I assure you that I am painfully aware of the horrible things that are occurring in the world, many of which bring tears to my eyes in a cry to a higher power… “WHY!”

I’ll not turn away from the fact that atrocities happen every day, and own the knowledge that for many the temptation to retreat or to bury heads in the sand is ever-present.

But still, how many of us have found ourselves in the worst of situations, or perhaps have first hand witnessed any of an endless list of wrong doings. And in such, have either overcome or been inspired by the courage of others.

It matters not whether the glass is half full or half empty. What matters is our willingness to fill to glass and to protect the glass of others… to not let any one glass dry up into oblivion.

And even though that for many, the glass may often be close to dry, while at the same time is overflowing for others, one global question remains, “Did we honor each others glass?”

I’ll be bold in saying this; maybe the troubled are truly the blessed. For without trial, how can one fully appreciate drinking of joy to its fullest potential?

Maribel sort of mirrors this sentiment with her observations of society, “It’s so funny to me; borderline ridiculous, how we are quick to react to negative, but we disregard the positive.”

“Quick to react to the negative,” Maribel points out.

I ponder her finding and come to a conclusion. A conclusion that arrived from asking myself a question. “Is man’s core instinct to react?”

But even further, do we seek the negative and in some subconscious way, direct our path towards pain and away from peace.

Trust me, I am not burying my head in the sand with the above statement. And I’ll be the first to do whatever I can to help those who are being abused beyond their control.

Yet, still I must question, how many of us would rather carry upon ourselves the weight of pessimism, distrust and doubt than to risk exposing ourselves to the light of optimism, hope and outreach. “Yeah… I know… What if I get hurt?”

Well… what if you do? Will you grow from the experience?

I choose growth… How about you?

Maribel brings a bit of perspective to my claim, “’Because of my line of work, I get to go see a lot of businesses, and I get to meet many different people. I interact with a lot of people, and unfortunately, some of the most ‘successful’ people are the most miserable people. They don’t even give us half an hour because they are so pressed on everything. How is that happiness? How is not having half and hour to exchange words with another human happiness.

Yeah it’s a paycheck… but… so what! Where do you end up…? Eighty years old and lonely?

I hope that in the future we come back, or at least turn around. There is no human contact anymore. There are emails… there are voice mails… there is text messaging… but, there is no human interaction.

It’s beautiful that we’re advancing technologically and that we are constantly evolving in that sense. But it is so unfortunate that we don’t take the time to meet our neighbors.

So, I think if we don’t take the time to do that human experience, we’re done!’”

The blood drive is wrapping up and Maribel has graciously given of her time. But in fairness to her co-workers we need to let her help them in wrapping their set-up.

“Do you have any last word of council for us Maribel?”

She paused in thought… and then gives us two winners.

“Be careful for what you wish for…”


“…Always! Just give without expecting to receive.”