His mother died when he was five and then the sister, who he counted on as a mother, died. He grew up on the streets of San Francisco, raised by the World War II veterans who managed the local YMCA. The speaker was Gus Lee, a first generation Chinese man who served in our Armed Forces.
I was hooked. See, he had already explained more than I have ever ìlivedî in his opening words. However, his next thoughts completely floored me as he†continued to describe†how†the home village in China was taken over, the country swarmed by over a million invaders–all determined to commit genocide and re-establish a different government. So his parents began the ëspectacular adventureí of immigrating to the US.
He reminded the NoCoNet audience of over 250 job seekers that very few of us came here on a first class ticket. Most of our ancestors were fleeing impossible odds and running to the only place that would take them.
How true. My ancestors were Irish/Welsh immigrants, poor working class folks who settled in the South, along the Mississippi River Delta of LA. My grandfathers were iron workers. black smiths and mule skinners for the logging company. Every day my dad put on his uniform and went into the city to work; he hung glass in the skyscrapers and was proud of his job.
Gus Lee reminded me that I only need another job. Nothing more. Not a new country. I do not have to run for my life. My children do not go hungry every night; they have both parents and a warm, safe house to sleep in. Nothing about this economic downturn is anything like what any of these brave immigrant†people endured.
I became keenly aware that all anyone in the room needed was the next job. I felt humbled, expanded, rejuvenated with a healthier perspective. And, then he explained that courage is part of character and you can let fear erode your character or stand up and be intentional about who you are and what you are all about. He said you can show your family fear or courage in the midst of travesty. It is a personal choice and a soul quest.
Upon reflection, few things really shake up in my blessed life in Loveland, CO.
But the earth did shake and broke open in Haiti and the world fell down on all those people. Till I get another job, I have a job to do. I am helping at the warehouse of H.E.L.P. International in Loveland, CO. check out http://www.helpint.org/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/You can help, too.
Stay courageous, persevere. Help others all you can. You can learn more about Gus Lee and Character.FtCollins athttp://www.characterfortcollins.org/