Embracing EVERY Encounter

By Sabrina Bong — Former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken once wrote, “When you come in contact with another life, that individual dabs a bit of color onto your soul. It isn’t always a color you like, but even ugliness provides its own lessons.” I hadn’t thought about that quote in some time, but a recent counseling experience brought it back to mind.

There was a girl who came in to speak with Nate about some ex-boyfriend problems. As the three of us, the girl admitted to making some poor decisions and worried about how the rest of her high school career would play out. She said she regretted things she said and did, and wished that she could go back and completely redo the past few months of her life. I asked her to tell me more about that, and she explained that she had wasted her time and wished she had never heard the boy’s name to begin with.

Nate nodded in agreement, before asking her if she learned anything from her experience.

“Not to trust men,” the girl vehemently declared.

“I can see why you would say that,” Nate said. “But besides that, what did you learn?”

The girl paused for a minute, clearly thinking about what she had learned besides the fact that her ex-boyfriend was maybe not the best choice for her. Finally, she suggested that she had learned that she didn’t want a boyfriend who never wanted to come over. Then, she said that she didn’t want a boyfriend who didn’t care about school, since she wanted to get a diploma and maybe get a degree from MATC.

“Those are good things to know” Nate encouraged.

After that, the girl began naming things off quickly. She wanted a boyfriend who would tell her she was beautiful and that she could do anything she put her mind to. She continued to talk about this for a few minutes before declaring, “I learned that I deserved better than him.”

It was amazing hearing her reach this revelation, and I was so proud of her for her strength and conviction. I think it is easy to look at negative situations and only see the bad things: the broken heart, the lost time, the one-sided relationship. But instead, this girl took a bad situation and turned it into something beautiful. She decided that she was going to embrace the color that this boy had put on her soul, even though it wasn’t the color she wanted. She saw that even the ugliest color can create a unique and inspirational piece of art.

I wish more people could be like this high school student, bravely setting out with these colors on her soul and being proud of each hue. She took a situation that she thought would break her and used it to make herself stronger.

I have many heroes in my life. Several involve my family and friends. Some are celebrities. But this week, I found a hero in a 15 year old girl who chose to overcome her pain and learn a valuable lesson.

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