As a child, I fondly recall digging for buried treasures at Ortley Beach in Toms River, NJ. This is a common thing for kids growing up on the Jersey Shore. Truth is, Ocean County did have a history with pirates who may have well done so. I’d learn this, years later. However, they didn’t do this everywhere.
Alas, I never did find any such treasure. Nay, therewas no gold, silver, rubies and other such baubles. Yet, the treasure was indeed there. Confused? What I did not know is this truth. The treasures I sought was right in front of me. The treasure came in packages that were far more valuable then gold or silver. They are far more precious then rubies, saphires and diamonds.
The treasure that I speak of, are human beings. Yes, we be those treasures. Sadly, we will never realize it. Like the pirate treasures of old, the human treasures are hidden beneath the surface. It is just waiting to be discovered. With pirate treasure, one had to dig for it. Of course, you have to dig in the right place and exert a lot more enerby than a young child. The same is true of the human variety. Yes, it does take work and I’m just as guilty of not always thinking to do so.
Here is another similarity between the two treasures. There is always a risk involved with digging for them. Pirate treasures are rumored to have traps associated with them. At least, this is the case in movies. It was done to keep other people from stealing their loots. Even so, there is also the risk of not finding anything. Children are natural risk takers, as they are not deterred by the risk of failure or frustration.
With any human being, there are similar risks. It is even more evidence when interacting with a person with disabilities. Yes, I am aware of the internal fears and questions that people have. They are natural. A friend asked “You lived alone? How did you take care of yourself?” My response suprised her that I was not offended. She was on her way to discovering a new friend and brother in Christ and discovered some buried treasure. She took a risk and got a reward.
There is always going to be an element of risk in getting to know someone. I had to take a risk when I moved in with the Alvarez. Hey, I didn’t know them. For all I knew, they could have been the wrst people on the planet. As it is, I am glad I took the risk. In the end, I got to know a whole family with a rich history in the Lord. I had the pleasure of knowing a great cook, a fellow who helped built the Internet, and their wonderful children.
I didn’t go in with the attitude of “Great, what now!” Instead, I went in the view of “Who are these wonderful people that God is blessing me with?” Remember, I can’t drive and am dependent on other people for transportation. Beachwood is a nice community but a pain if you can’t drive to a grocery store.
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot! Liz and Mario were also taking a risk with me. They had very little interaction with me. I could have easily been a teror, as a tenant. There were additional questions that ran in their heads and I’m glad we talked. It made things, easier. Yes, there be risks in digging for treasures of the human variety.
It is risky getting to know someone; especially if you have no prior experience. I have been on both side. I do not claim to be perfect. There have been times when I’ve put my own foot in my mouth or missed a cue to what is driving someone’s boat. But like the pirate treasure of old, the reward may well be worth the risks.
For we will never know what lies within a person; unless we first make the effort.