As I approached, I saw him talking with his friend Steve at the bus stop. Alex and Steve were an interesting pair, so even though the three of us were an unlikely match, I stopped to chat anyway. Because sometimes it’s good to learn from people most unlike you.
I’m not exactly sure why, but Alex and I engaged fairly easily and for some length. His story grabbed a piece of my heart. Perhaps he reminded me a bit of my sister’s days passed. Perhaps, I wondered, if I’m supposed to be chatting with more people like Alex?
So I asked Alex one question. “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”
This was his response.
Alex’s first reaction to my question was that he’d “do the same thing he’s doing now,” which he listed as the “music scene, going to shows, exploring, and art.”
But I probed further.
Alex gets general assistance from the state. Currently, he’s enrolled in a job program and has been looking for work. I asked him what kind of work he’s looking for. “Anything,” he said.
I probed further, and ultimately got to the good stuff of Alex’s dreams.
Ideally, if he didn’t have to worry about money at all, Alex would like to work 1-2 days a week, and then he’d really like to spend the rest of his time “doing shows,” selling art and clothing he’s designed.
Everything suddenly shifted.
I asked Alex if he’d designed his own vest. “Yes,” he said. I couldn’t help but reply, “That’s awesome! You have a gift, Alex.”
Alex designs clothes at home and in the coffee shop. He hasn’t tried to sell anything yet, but is “working on his designs.”
Alex shared that he attends an art program called Interact in downtown Minneapolis. He goes there several days a week to connect and “hang out” with people in the art community.
I encouraged Alex to get really connected at Interact, to find someone who could guide him and pour into his life. I reminded him that Interact might be the exact place he needs to be if he wants to do something with those designs. Now he just needs to figure out who has connections to the design industry, or who’s willing to take him under their wing and guide him.
So what can we learn from Alex?
As I stood there talking with Alex, I wondered. Who has poured into this young man’s life? Who has been there for him along the way, encouraging him in the everyday? Who has been there to guide him, to love on him, to show him the way? Who has been there to foster his dreams, to tell him anything’s possible?
And I just had a hunch Alex really needed a lot more encouragement and guidance.
I also have to wonder. Do we disregard others’ dreams – as far fetched, totally impossible, not realistic – more than we realize?
If Alex was telling me the truth, that he really did design and make that vest by himself (which, by the way, is totally possible and probably likely), then clearly he has a gift for design and craftsmanship. Yet I know there’s someone out there who’d say he could’ve been lying to me about that vest. I get it. I suppose that’s possible. But he’s wearing his heart, dreams and desires loudly and boldly, right there on his chest.
So maybe I’m the one dreaming…
But if I’m not, let’s agree to this.
Let’s rally around people. Let’s encourage others on their journey. Let’s embrace others’ stories whether they’re like ours our not.
Does life seem impossible? Does a dream seem far fetched, like it’s never going to happen? Forget it. Let’s believe anything’s possible. For anyone.
I met Alex on a street corner at a bus stop. He’s on general assistance, but the guy has some dreams.
I wonder. I just wonder.
What would Alex’s life look like if one person really, truly poured into his life with love, encouragement, and ongoing one-on-one support. What would his life look life if two, three, four or five people poured into him on a regular basis?
If all things are possible, what could be possible for Alex? What could be possible for those designs he’s dreaming of?
I wonder. I just wonder.
So I ask…whose life can you pour into today?
*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.