I am always learning while I work on my blog, always meeting new people that teach me valuable lessons about myself, life and the world around me. Everyday I am reminded of the gifts that I have, the roof over my head, my family that loves me, a school that supports me and friends that look out for me. I often think of the support system that I, like many of you reading this article have to fall back on. How if anything were ever to happen, should I get injured, sick, lose my job or a loved one or have a mental health crisis I will have a support system to be there for me and help me to get back on my feet. For all of these things I am grateful but also reminded of the people I have met that don't have these supports to fall back on, but instead have other methods of coping that don't always lead them to the best places.
When I talk to people on the streets, the most common thing I hear is "I wish people would just acknowledge that I am here, acknowledge that I exist". So often we get wrapped up in our day to day lives and don't take the time to stop and notice the world and people around us. If we think as humans how much we desire to be seen and accepted, just imagine going everyday seeming to be ignored by the world around you. I think we all might be surprised how big of an impact something as simple as a smile or a hello can make on someones day.
Throughout my journey with the Vancouver Care Project, I have met many incredible people that have just been dealt bad cards, had a bad spout of luck or were at a loss of how to get themselves out of their situations. I have met strong, resilient people that brave each day with a sense of courage that inspires me more than they may ever know. But, they have also faced things that I could only begin to imagine. Lived through traumatic and unfortunate experiences that are undesirable to say the least. So this Thanksgiving, I hope that we can all not only be thankful for what we have, the people that we have and the lives that we live, but also to stop and be more understanding and more compassionate towards people who are vulnerable. Instead of giving a judging glare or avoiding eye contact, giving a smile, a hello, or a "Happy Thanksgiving". At the end of the day we are all people, we all have a story, have feelings and all desire a sense of belonging. So this Thanksgiving I hope that we can all live with a little extra love in our hearts, compassion in our minds and a little more kindness in our smile.