I used to be the “glass half empty” guy. I was always feeling down on life, or feeling like life wasn’t going way I thought it would. I was angry at everything. I couldn't stand being around people. I always found at least one things that annoyed me about a person, but it was all because I hated myself and the cards that were dealt. I never thought about how bad others had it. Even when I did have something of value (physical or not), I never appreciated it. I didn’t appreciate the things that actually mattered like my brothers or my family and even certain friends. I didn’t appreciate the fact that I had a roof over my head and that I could eat 3 hot meals a day if I wanted.
About 6 or 7 years ago, my perspective changed forever.
I was working with two brothers in a company that we had all started together doing photography and wedding videography. We worked hard trying to get our company off the ground, and we did. We were getting a ton of clientele, but I wasn’t making any money. The brothers were, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand. I was working 16 hours and commuting a total of 2 hours a day for hardly anything. One day, I asked one of the brothers if I was expendable and his response was “we're all expendable”. I asked him if he was, and he said “well, obviously not”. I smiled, finished my cigarette, and went back inside. I realized this guy had been playing me, and yet for some reason, I felt as if I was going to be in trouble if I left the company. I believed there was no way out. But during this time, I was also helping with fundraisers for a youth group at my old church. We were raising money to go to the Philippines for a mission trip. I thought “this will be my way out”, so I found the perfect day to gather all my things, and I left. Then, I packed my bags and went to the Philippines.
This is where my perspective really started to change. About halfway through the mission trip, I opened my eyes and saw true poverty. I saw kids playing in sewage ditches with their paper boats. We went to villages hoisted up above a swamp by bamboo. They only had one outhouse made of clay in the middle of the village that everyone shared. We went to a garbage dump that people lived in that was next to a cemetery. You get the picture.
One night, I was sitting in the bungalow outside the mission center playing tetris on my iPhone, and my new friend Jake, a local, came to hang out with me. He brought me a coffee, and we sat and talked while watching a lightning storm strike miles away from us. He asked me if my phone was an iPhone and asked if he could hold it. I tossed it to him, and he started to cry. He told me that he never dreamed he could touch an iPhone. To me, it was just my phone; To him, it was the world. He shared with me that his dream was to one day move to America and go to all the places he saw on TV.
When we left the Philippines, that’s all I could think about. I thought about my entire life. Thought about the fact that I was able to travel, that I could do anything and eat anything I wanted, that I could be anyone I wanted...that I could start over if I had to and could try new things. So, I spent the next year in Korea studying abroad and teaching English. I had the greatest time and made friends with people from every corner of the world. When I came back home, I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness and love. My soul felt renewed. My perspective changed completely. I didn’t think of the glass being half full or half empty anymore. To me, the glass can always be refilled, and it's the fact that you HAVE a glass that is such a beautiful thing. To this day, I do my best to remind myself of this. Even though some days are harder than the next, you can still refill that glass.
- Bryan Wriggle