I will never forget the day I learned the value of all I have.
I was living in El Salvador, a small country of Central America and, having just moved from America at age twelve, was struggling with culture shock and identifying with my countrymen.
This particular Sunday my aunt Dinora—affectionately nicknamed “Tillita”—had come over to visit. I was in the kitchen at the time, making myself a sandwich, and had, in the typical American way, cut off the bread crusts to throw away.
Tillita walked into the kitchen and greeted me, asking me questions about how I was doing and if I was excited to start school. I answered her questions and asked about my older cousins, who were in college. While we spoke, I made my way over to the trashcan and threw away the bread crusts without a second thought.
I looked up from the trashcan and was shocked by the look on my aunt’s face. She stood, frozen in horror, staring at me in utter disbelief. We locked eyes for a second before she came back to life, crying, “What are you doing? Why did you throw them away?”
Then, to my amazement, she reached into the trashcan, pulled out the crusts and ate them.
I couldn’t believe it. I was both repulsed and astounded. I’d never seen somebody dig through the trash for food. But as I watched Tillita chew, I realized how truly disgusting I must seem to her: throwing away perfectly good food for absolutely no reason.
My aunt grew up in utter poverty, along with my mother and their five other siblings. My aunt is still, to this day, very poor. She and her husband struggle to put food on the table and pay the rent for their tiny house.
The most amazing thing about my Tillita, though, is how generous she is. No one ever goes to her house without being fed, fussed over, and prayed for. She is the kindest, most soft-hearted person I know, crying over everybody’s life story and remembering them in her prayers–which often go on long into the night.
I was twelve, utterly American, comfortable, and oblivious to how blessed I was and still am. Until that day, I had never realized that what to me seems tasteless and discardable is, to someone else, the very thing they hunger for.
That Sunday, I realized for the first time how much I have, how grateful I am to have it, and how much I wish to share my wealth with others. This isn’t only true for my possessions: talents, abilities and ideas are also part of the abundance that God has given me.
I realize more and more every day how much I have of myself to give. Although some days I feel rather poor, I remind myself how blessed I am to wake up each day to a roof over my head and food on the table. I want to be a good steward of all God’s entrusted to me.
One day, I wish to be like the good servant in the parable of the talents, able to present what was given to me, to show what I’ve added, and to proudly say, “I’ve wasted nothing.”
When have you learned a profound life lesson from a simple circumstance?
How do you remember to be grateful for what you have?
Anything else on your heart!
Kelly Larios is a seventeen-year-old high school student who enjoys reading and writing. She lives in Garland, Texas with her parents, cousin, and two extremely spoiled cats.
(Cheri Gregory, aka “Mrs. G”, is looking forward to having Kelly in her AP English Literature & Composition class next year!)