15, Number 12
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Make a wish worthwhile
by Dominique Wiese
As we were making our way towards the aerial tramway that would transport us down Monserrate, we stopped to take one last round of pictures from the top of the Colombian hill. It was at that moment that we spotted him. Without much reflection, my mother, my mother’s cousin, la tía Piedad, my brother Chris and I walked towards the young man.
He was selling bracelets, and Chris and I wanted one. Besides, the vendor looked as if he could use some help. As we approached, he greeted us and asked if we wanted to make a purchase. When we answered yes, he spoke to us candidly and what he said hit us hard.
“I’m a recovering drug addict. A while back I joined an organization that helps people overcome addictions and other problems. At first, we're not allowed to go out into the world. But once we’ve passed the withdrawal stages, and we’ve shown we are committed to our recovery, they release us, trusting that we’ll make the right choices.”
We were shocked. We had no idea why he was telling us this.
“That’s why I’m out here selling these bracelets,” he continued “This is my way of showing the world and myself that I want to recover. My wish is to be recovered and I have faith that I will be.”
He then chose a bracelet and asked for my wrist. I placed my arm out and he proceeded to put it on my wrist. The bracelet was simply made: a green piece of string and a red piece of string tied together in a uncomplicated way, yet forming an interesting design.
Before tying the bracelet, the man spoke again: “I want you to make a wish. Ask God for this wish. But don’t wish for money to spend on shopping or for your current love interest to like you back. Instead make your wish a sincere one.”
I made my wish and then he tied the bracelet. He then put another bracelet around my brother’s wrist and also asked him to make a wish, giving him the exact same instructions he gave me. When he was done we thanked him for the bracelets and paid him.
During the four-minute cable car ride down Monserrate, as well as for the rest of that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said. His story about being a recovering drug addict and his advice about making a sincere wish impacted me. I don’t really remember what I had wished for or what the man looked like (other than being young) because, at that moment, these things weren’t important.
What was important was that his words made me reflect about how, when we wish, we don’t usually wish for what’s really important. We wish for the latest sports car or for the cute guy or girl to like us. We wish for a million dollars or for a luxurious Caribbean cruise. We are so caught up in what we want that we don’t think about what we need. We need to wish for a cure for cancer or for a cure for HIV. We need to wish for a cleaner environment or for deforestation to end. We need to wish for wisdom when we are faced with making difficult decisions. We need to wish for love and for the support of our family and friends.
And when you think about it, the materialistic things we desire mean nothing compared to the love and support from our family and friends. We need to learn to make our wishes worthwhile.
Dominique Wiese recently graduated from Balboa Academy. She will be attending Berry College in the fall.
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