In 2019 I visited an elementary school to cover a special news story—I never expected the moment to change my view on life....
Everyone had already gone to an assembly, so no one could let me into the building. I remember that day had been quite snowy and as such the school’s windows were a bit dirty from the morning’s storm.
I knocked, but no one heard me. I tried all of the doors; they remained locked. Then people started flooding the hallways. I knocked again, waved, even yelled out, but NO ONE saw me.
Some of the teachers and kids appeared to look at me, but they couldn’t see me at all through the window. After a while, I just ended up standing, shivering in the cold.
As I watched people laughing and smiling, I started to feel a little bit reflective, thinking of the irony. The fact is that sometimes I’ve felt like this in life, as if I’m knocking on a window where no one understands me or my true worth. Maybe I’d be capable of so much if just given the chance to “come in.” Gifts and potential, waiting dormant, hoping anyone will answer the door. As I stood there, I wondered, “Is this what it feels like to be dead? Just watching people who can’t see.” Is that what I was feeling for years….
Suddenly a little boy and his teacher—from way down the hallway, behind nearly everyone—somehow spotted me. He waved and tugged on her sleeve. They both smiled wide and bolted down the hall to the door.
“You must be freezing! We’ve been waiting for you. They’ll be so excited to talk with you and to be in the newspaper.”
“How did you see me?” I asked. “No one else could.”
“We’ve been waiting for you!” the little boy replied. “You’re with the paper. It’s a big deal!”
I walked in and some snow fell from my hood. The teacher patted me in the back and, as the little boy went toward the auditorium, she said, “You’re making such an impact in this area. We appreciate you and your positivity.”
I bit my lip and tried not to get teary-eyed because her words meant so much. As I walked into the auditorium, everything seemed brighter, better, such a contrast to the cold, dreary world I’d been freezing in moments before.
The kids squealed the moment I entered the room because they’d met me before, and I represented something they thought was awesome—a chance for their faces and stories to appear in a paper that had stayed in business for over 100 years.
As I took picture after picture and answered questions for kids who love to write, I realized I should never feel like I’m locked outside, looking in on everyone else and wishing I had a purpose. After all, everyone has a purpose, even me. For a time, that was running a tiny newspaper and writing stories for the people of Bingham County. Now, it’s finding the best in life even as I fight to survive cancer.
Honestly, although I cry and struggle some days, I’ve found so much good even in these current circumstances. It’s wonderful to still be on the inside.