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  • Writer's pictureKaren Andrews

The View From Here

Updated: May 21, 2020

When you have moved from “here” to “there” several times and stretched your comfort zone on a continual basis, you gain a new perspective to the world around you. You encounter different types of people, different lifestyles, and countless perspectives. When you live in different parts of the country, say, from the Texas Panhandle to New England to the Sunny Beaches in Florida to near the Mexican border in Texas to people working at living at Walt Disney World Epcot Center (here on Visa to work at strictly WDW)…you see how ALL kinds of people live and it changes you.

What you consider your “normal” may not be what everyone else considers their “normal”. When you think “good ole fashioned home cooking”, you get several meal options. Some consider Chicken Fried Steak and mashed potatoes, some will do Homemade Tamales and others will prepare the most outstanding Manicotti that you wonder how Olive Garden ever stays in business. Some can prepare the best homemade Chinese Dumplings just like their grandmother make in China! Everyone has a different “normal", and everyone is working to maintain it.

It may be a Dad who works 60 hours a week while mom stays home keeps house, feeds everyone, does all the laundry, monitors the checkbook, does all the shopping interior decorating, gardening, and helps with all the homework . It may be the single mother who does ALL that herself– both Money Maker Dad and Homemaker Mom! It may be the family here on Visa from China brought over to work at Dell. I knew a family just in this situation. Dad worked at Dell, Mom who had a Master’s Degree in Chemistry) and was a government employe. She couldn’t get a job in the US because her education wasn’t of the same accreditation and wasn't acknowledged. All that scientific intelligence, and she wound up working at a daycare in the baby room. They had to keep their son up to date on all US education requirements as well as Chinese educational requirements so that when they went back to China, he would be up to speed with his fellow classmates.

You learn to hear the daily struggles of different people in a lot of different situations, and it kind of changes you. You see date an addict who struggles (sometimes) to stay clean (sometimes). You date a guy that just got out of prison, see how he struggles day to day. You befriend a lady who immigrated to the US for a better life, who winds up on welfare because she can’t get a break. You see a lady who embraces a homosexual lifestyle and see how she struggled to find a place to fit, you hear the pain and frustration.

Maybe, you suddenly realize that even you have become a “statistic”. You discover yourself abandoned by your child’s father, the one who never signed the birth certificate. Then he dies, you are that single mother on welfare, living in a low-income area with no child support, no survivors benefits because he didn’t have a legit job, and you wind up on welfare (temporarily). Your degree doesn’t warrant enough income, so you go back to school…get another degree. Realize that STILL isn’t enough and you go back for another degree. Your son is “fatherless”, and you have to step back crying and say, “God, this is bigger than I can handle!”. God shows up, creates mentors for you son, he does NOT become the statistic status he was born into, and you as Mom (and a dad, too) eventually clamor your way towards top. (But enough about me...)

I also befriended a lady at church who lived on the Mexico and Texas border. She is a great conversationalist, easy to talk to, and makes you laugh! You learn she dodged drug cartels daily as a truck driver as she drove past the Mexico/Texas border at Laredo, TX, where , she dodged sex traffickers and drug cartels daily. Keep in mind, drug cartels like to smuggle drugs in the semi-tractor trailers like she drove. Those who resisted were being left decapitated near highway overpasses to serve as a message to others. She struggled with her very life simply to support herself and child after a nasty divorce and took the only job offered that provided the amount money she needed to make.

And yes, you also see people who want the American Dream…and not have to work for it, those who think the government should provide it to them for free.

The world gets smaller. You realize there isn’t an “other side of the tracks” where people live. There isn’t “those” people who encounter bad luck. It becomes your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Each person has a story, some have already overcome the odds, while other are fighting to overcome those same odds– some seem to believe the battle is too large and they lay down for a while to re-group hoping to find a new strength to continue and yet some even give up.

The point is …life changes you and you gain a new perspective on things. Your comfort zone gets challenged and becomes larger. Life is a challenge, it is growth, it is learning that you can change how you look at life - and that can change how life treats you sometimes. It alters your expectations and your self-worth. If you haven’t failed at some point in life…then maybe you didn’t try. Sometimes you will fail…this is where you learn what worked and what didn’t work. Apply the new lesson, and give it another try. It is a numbers game, keep trying and you will succeed. God is full of strength and guidance; He can keep you focused!

I’ve lived in too many cities to count, across several states. I’ve met tons of people, seen lots of lifestyles, encountered several ways of living, and had the chance to encounter MANY people who have moved to the US in search of the American Dream. Currently, I’m in Maine. My perspective is a result of my journey that got me here. Granted, I’m not done, but currently, my perspective is what happened on my journey here…to Maine. I’m a city dweller living in God’s masterpiece of still and quiet nature. I’ve had to learn to slow my spirit down to hear the babbling brooks, hear the woodpeckers, see the chipmunks, and enjoy the red maple trees. I've learned to see the world in an amazing light, to enjoy the different perspectives (mostly), and see more of the world and how it operates than I ever thought imaginable!

God is Good! Life is Good! All the Time! Slow down, see the beauty that you didn't see before. See the love you didn't see, and the wonder at God's beautiful creations in a new way! So, slow down, enjoy the journey, growth is good! Change is good!

Stay tuned, experience life through a different set of eyes...broaden your "comfort zone". I hope to be in contact with you soon!

Until then, Life is short, LIVE LARGE!

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