I want to make a difference in the world. Maybe not the entire world, but at least the tiny part of the world I call my own. I want to help, I want to influence, and I want to promote change. I want to do everything I can to impact those around me. That’s why I teach. That’s why I volunteer. That’s why I write. That’s why I try to be intentional with my actions.
Sometimes I selfishly daydream about what I’ll do that makes a lasting impact. Maybe I’ll adopt some children from a third world country. Maybe I’ll go green enough to live off the grid. Maybe I’ll discover some cure for Celiac Disease (and then eat a bunch of bread). Maybe I’ll win awards for my written memoirs. Maybe I’ll make a difference that people actually notice.
Or maybe I’ll just take a dump in the food court.
I saw it happen. A young woman just like me – eager to make a difference. A girl who loves animals and helping people. Probably a bit of a bleeding heart. She decided to raise a guide dog to help those with disabilities. Her intentions were as golden as her pup, and she probably expected it to be a lot of fun. But one day, her dog took a massive dump in the middle of the food court next to the Indian restaurant.
I’ll say this: it was large, it was vile, and the next day I had trouble eating my leftover coconut chicken.
The girl was incredibly embarrassed. People were staring. Some were giggling. Most were trying to block out the fact a steaming pile of crap was sitting within a few feet of their lunches. Someone handed her a plastic bag. She scooped it up as fast as possible while the sweet little puppy sprawled out on the floor, wagging his tail, trying to lick his master’s arm. The girl nearly ran out of the mall with the dog in tow, leaving a few streak marks on the tile.
I can’t help but think that crapping in the food court might not be a bad thing. It’s progress. It’s gross and embarrassing, but it doesn’t have to hinder growth. The girl and that dog will eventually make someone’s life richer and easier, despite the fact that they once left poo smears in a public place. They’ll work harder. They’ll train. They’ll put more hours into it. They’ll go from poopin’ in food courts to changing a life.
Despite my longings to improve and make a difference, it’s not going to be pretty. I can do my best to change the world, but reality will at some point kick in and poop where I don’t want it to poop. It’ll be mortifying. It will be a struggle. It will smell and it will be messy. I’ll leave streaks behind.
I have to remind myself that in the times where I feel like my ambitions have squatted in public, that it is indeed something. It’s a risk. It’s growth. It’s a learning opportunity. It’s a step in the right direction. It’s better than wandering aimlessly through life with no end goal. Poopin’ in the food court is better than nothing.