• Dustin C. Kinard

Meet Gretchen.


This is Gretchen.

I first met Gretchen on a fast walk to the New York Kid's Club Battery Park location. It was a rather hot and sunny summer day in the city. I was running late for work, with not much time to spare. I jumped off of the subway and raced down the streets.. with a dying phone and a slow Google Maps.

I was near the World Trade Center area, where a lot of construction is taking place, at the moment. The streets I would normally take were closed and under construction, so I had to seek out new alternatives (with no help from Google Maps, I might add). I mangled my way down the streets of lower Manhattan, trying to remember the way to the location.

When I first saw her, Gretchen, I could tell she was at a rough spot in life. I raced right past her, in a hurry. I arrived at an intersection, and while waiting for a green light, I decided to turn around and walk back to her. She appeared to have completely given up on life. She lay face against the pavement. She didn't acknowledge my existence, or admire the bustle of the city surrounding her. She didn't ask for help or show any kind of drive in life. She just lay there, lifeless, hopeless.

I don't know what she had went through earlier that week. I'm not sure how she ended up on that sidewalk next to the wet floor sign. Maybe she fell from a passing stroller... or maybe she was betrayed and thrown from a passing stroller. Had her human lost her? Or had they intentionally disposed of her?

I don't know these answers. I probably never will know these answers. What I DO know is this- I immediately related with Gretchen (hence, why I snapped a photo). Life IS rough sometimes. We all find ourselves face down on the pavement, usually when we least expect it. We all look like Gretchen, from time to time. We are mangled, dirty, and appear lifeless... and feel like no one wants us.

What I don't think Gretchen realized, is that the exact location where she lay was only a block from my job, the New York Kids Club. Only a block away, and she could have the most fun, and meet the most children, and maybe even find a new home. Not to mention, Gretchen lay face down on a sidewalk in NYC- where her potential is limitless and adventure lurks around every corner. However, Gretchen was done. She was tired, looked as though she had lived a rough life, and had completely just given up.

It's easy to find yourself in Gretchen's shoes (although, she clearly lost those along the way). And sometimes, we ARE like Gretchen, and we throw ourselves to the ground with depression and anxiety and betrayal and (you name it). But, unlike Gretchen, we cannot just settle there, beside the wet floor sign. Our life is more than that, and there are good things out there waiting for us. We must brush off our dirty fur, stand up, and persevere. Because, just like Gretchen, we never know the breakthrough we may have, waiting just one block over.

#Fiction #Encouragement #Adventure #NewYorkCity

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