A recent trip:
Imagine… you’re walking down the street with uncertainty, nearing the address you’ve been given. Five houses away… 4 houses away… 3, 2, and 1… Sure enough, now is your last chance to turn around and run! Despite the unique nature of this encounter, you begin up the steps and knock on the door. From the moment the door opens you’re no longer a stranger to this “host,” from now on you’ll be treated as a room-mate; a “surfer.”
Recently I went on a trip and while in Illinois I stayed at a home I found through the couchsurfing.org website. Basically Facebook for those who desire a place to stay while traveling without having to pay for a hotel. Anyone who knows my parents can safely assume they were a little cautious and confused by the overall concept of such a website and organization. Despite their fear and unease, they allowed me to leave.
The entire trip was focused around meeting strangers and hopefully gaining a brief understanding of what wisdom they have gained in life, and what wisdom they may have to offer me. I wish I could say the strangers I talked to had a great deal to offer; sadly that isn’t always the case. Lets take a moment… and embrace the “wisdom” of the strangers in our world.
A Strangers Wisdom
Think for a moment about a question that may sound simple, but actually results in most people becoming speechless or uncertain of what to say.
What is the best wisdom you’ve gained over the years… what is the best wisdom you could over me…
I talked to a fair amount of people while in the state of Illinois, and you’d be surprised the answers. The majority of individuals was rather generic and had a minimal level of thought into the concept of wisdom.
–don’t drink and drive
–don’t do drugs and tobacco
–travel before you have kids
–learn from mistakes
Answers such as these were standard, and only provoked a minute long conversation until they decided to move on in their life.
But there were a few people who gave me a shred of hope for this study I was conducting, and for our world.
–A man explained how he wished he had made a greater effort to find a wife when he was younger. The desire to have a family and provide the love and support as a father is remarkably immense in his life, and he regrets not making that dream a reality. He was clear in stating that I should not make that same mistake.
–There was a homeless man who explained how happiness is achievable in every aspect of life and there is always something beneficial to be found, even in the midst of sorrow. For a homeless man to find joy and happiness, despite his circumstance, is something to be looked highly upon.
What to take away
There is a great deal I learned, and many people I talked to. Obviously it won’t all be listed in this blog post, but I wanted to make a point. Each and every interaction we have, allows for wisdom to be gained. Embrace the moments we’ve been given by God and allow yourself to grow through them. You may be asking yourself, what is there to learn from the people who barely had an answer? Think about it! We can learn that our world is missing out on a great deal of wisdom, and that is a gap that you (the wise) would be capable of filling. You could take their advice in the basic sense of things, though I hope you each know not to drink and drive or do drugs.
The other individuals, the ones I would actually call wise, offer a great deal to learn. For starters, they were willing to have a conversation with an absolute stranger (me) to offer them wisdom and better their life. Something we each could do a better job at. I learned that it doesn’t matter how bad things look, I could be homeless and there will still be positives in my life. Don’t take life for granted; share the love and passion you have with a family and children.
Perhaps our world dropped the ball on wisdom and knowledge…
Perhaps you should succeed where our world failed…
Learn from the world’s mistakes and the mistakes you’ve made, become truly wise.