Before I went to college, I volunteered a lot. And when I say a lot, I really do mean a lot. I remember the best thing wasn't racking up all of the volunteer hours for my various organizations that required that I volunteer, but instead it was meeting all of these different people from different walks of life. It no longer became what I could show or teach other people, and it became what I could learn from them.
"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't."
So I went to college, and I will admit my volunteering went from frequent to nearly non-existent. I didn't have nearly as much time for it, and just in the past week, I was able to get back at it.
I'm sure a few of you have heard of the Tim Tebow Foundation, which is a foundation based for people with special needs. One of the foundation's big events is a "Night to Shine" Prom, and it's basically a Prom put on just for those with special needs.
Through 4-H, I'd worked with only a few kids that had special needs, my favorite being a boy who was blind who taught me that intelligence and sight have absolutely no correlation. So, going into the night, I figured I was about to learn something.
Before I went, I was excited to go, but when I got there, I was absolutely ecstatic. For the night, those volunteering have a "buddy," which is like your date for the night. My date's name was Tiffany, and we had a pretty good time.
For starters, the theme was Frozen, and this Prom was more elaborately decorated than any Prom I ever went to (and let me tell you, I went to some well-decorated Proms).
First we came in, and we had our picture taken together. Then, we went to go get her tiara. At this Prom, every one was a king or a queen for the night. My date didn't really say much to me for the night, but she held my hand and danced with me for almost the entire night. And, whenever I asked if she was having fun, she just smiled at me (so I took that as a yes).
And just because I had a date didn't mean I didn't dance with other people, as well. This one younger boy and I got down to "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, and another girl and I belted out "Let it Go" from Frozen at the top of our lungs.
The real part that got me, though, wasn't when I was with my date. They had a dance at the end that was just for the kings and queens and their parents. The rest of us, the "buddies," clustered around the outside, basically in the awkward dance ring that, in high school, was filled with the people who were too lame to hit the dance floor.
Anyway, watching from the awkward ring was enough to move anyone. It was incredible, as these people were out on the dance floor having the time of their lives. It didn't really matter that they were just a little different than us, or that they wouldn't have nearly the opportunities that the rest of us had in life. They were happy, and to be honest, they were probably happier than three-fourths of the room.
In that moment, I was reminded how lucky I really am. I am blessed to be in good health, and so many times, many of us take that for granted. Yet, these other people, people with special needs, were not blessed with the privileges that many of us are, and they were still happier than us.
Maybe there's not so much wrong with our lives after all.