Ladies and gentlemen. Here it is in its entirety, with very few alterations made only to add clarity in this monologue form.
Your assignment is to use this monologue to create a video presentation that we can post on the blog. Be as creative as you like. Post it to YouTube and email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Mary Worth Monologue
To quote a wise person, “Kindness is my true religion.” But when I look back on my past I know my compulsion to help others is more than that… You know, it’s fascinating how our experiences shape who we are in so many ways! Something happened in my past! Something I’ve never forgotten! I have a story to tell you! It’s really not out of the ordinary to look back sometimes! We’re all in the same boat, really! I’m not alone when I say that something happened in my childhood that shaped who I am today! I usually don’t speak about my past, because I like to live in the present! But you asked where I get my compulsion to help others, so I’ll tell you a story! You know, I wasn’t always as you see me today! Remember, things are not always what they seem! I went through a difficult time as a child, before my mother remarried and circumstances improved! My father was out of the picture early on! This forced my mother to look for work, and left me to fend for myself! I was a child of a broken home who had no one to properly take care of me! My mother did her best! Unfortunately, it often wasn’t enough! Whose to say why things happen the way they do? We grow in character because we struggle. We learn and overcome. I used to go to sleep without dinner. Hungry for food… for love… most of all, for a feeling of self worth! Later on, things improved! But not before I went to bed hungry for more nights than a child should have to bear! There were times in my childhood, when I felt unloved, and unworthy! It wasn’t only due to the lack of food or money, either! [My mother] wasn’t a consistent presence in those days! Still, I hoped things would change! It’s been said, “Suffering produces endurance… and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Luckily, I had my friend, Cathy. She didn’t care that my clothes were more than a little worn. We played as kids do. We used to talk and laugh and delight in the insignificant. Friendship isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things. Sometimes we didn’t talk. Friendship needs no words. Despite having a friend, the feeling of being lowly and unworthy persisted. I tried to pretend I was the same as other kids, but at home I faced cold hard reality. There’s more to my story. As I said before, something happened that was a turning point for me. It raised me up. Made me feel differently about myself. As I was saying, when I was with my friend Cathy, she made me feel better as friends often do. With her I felt like a normal little girl, instead of a neglected child in a broken home. At my house it was a different story. Having her as a friend almost made the long days and nights more bearable. Almost. Sometimes I visited Cathy’s house. Her parents were kind people. One time, I was quiet and seated at their dinner table. When Cathy’s mother started to say grace, I was unsure, so I followed the others’ example. Then something happened that would change my life forever! Cathy’s mother concluded saying grace, “And let us give thanks for having Mary here… who is always welcome at our home for dinner.” As the child of a broken home, I took note of myself. And of a higher power in that one instance. Over the years, circumstances improved… especially after my mother remarried. But that one incident stands out in my mind because I felt something shift inside. One act of kindness made me feel differently about myself. It’s hard to explain it, Toby. Lao-Tse said, “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profundity. Kindness in giving creates love.” Because of Cathy and because of what Cathy’s mother said, “And let us give thanks for having Mary here, who is always welcome at our house for dinner,” I am who I am today! I help others and I am able to care! That incident made me feel that I am worthy of receiving and ultimately… giving! It’s amazing how a simple act can be transforming. Harold Kushner said, “When you are kind to others, it not only changes you. It changes the world.” What seems unimportant today may take on greater meaning tomorrow. We affect each other in ways that are not always obvious. Children especially are sensitive to things said and done. The simplest word, the smallest deed can have an effect! It’s never too late to have an effect in someone’s life. I was profoundly affected by the kindness of strangers! Someone reached out to me when I needed it most! And now I reach out to others! It’s a privilege to help others as I’ve been helped!… In any way I can… whether it’s advising someone… or inviting a lonely soul to my place for dinner. I’ve gone through hardship, and instead of becoming bitter and angry about it, I’ve taken the high road. It’s called perspective. It comes with experience! Instead of ignoring my past, I look back at the things I truly am grateful for. Like my friend Cathy and her family. They were a Godsend. And they weren’t the only ones! But that’s a story for another day. Lyndon B. Johnson said, “We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.” Looking back makes me feel nostalgic. That’s why I try not to do it too often. I hope I answered your question about what compels me to help others.