Can I please do this for the rest of my life?

September 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm 2 comments

It doesn’t take much to get people going about their passions.

Last week, I got to talk to some brilliant students. It was just small-talk, as I was checking them in for an event and they were waiting their turn, but if you hit upon the right conversation topic even the small chit-chat can make their eyes light up. A graduating senior told me about his dream to engineer rides for Disney – and then about his actual internship with Disney. A friend told me about his new business, Mo Apparel – he has student graphic and fashion designers working with him to create cool T-shirts and apparel with messages and quotes to inspire them to achieve their dreams. And he donates some of the profits to various causes. And it’s taking off.

I watched a girl’s eyes sparkle as she told me about her upcoming theatre performance, an audition of sorts for the theatre faculty so they could understand the talents of each new student and consider them for appropriate roles.

These people are going places. They have a zest for what they’re doing and big dreams for the future. My roommate tells me about the various chains on her bike and going on her first mountain ride and passing on her skills to the new women on the cycling team. Someone else explains what it’s like to have a child finally get that concept in their student-teaching classroom, or why they are passionate about being on the morale committee for THON.

Their stories are electric. And maybe I don’t particularly care about honeybee research or engineering projects. But those subjects are captivating when I hear it from them.

Just today, I got to meet and interview a lovely professor as part of a series of profiles the Honors College is doing on our Distinguished Honors Faculty Program members. Over the course of the conversation, she briefly mentioned that when she had studied abroad in France during college, she lived with a survivor of the Holocaust. Since the woman had no living children, she gave this professor her yellow star that she wore throughout that.

Um, WHAT?????

Everything in me wanted to stop, back up, beg for the whole story. But we were running out of time and it wasn’t the focus of the interview. But I want the details, to understand that relationship, what it means now to be the guardian of such a gift.

Stories connect us to each other. In my job now, I get to tell these stories of discovery and research and innovation and success. Or I share silly little stories about my day and something cool that someone said in Bible study when I’m talking on the phone. It’s a way to invite someone else into my day and that little piece of my life. Those are the fun stories, the happy and inspiring stories.

But the other side of life needs to be told – for the painful moments must also be shared. It’s not always rosy.

We’re just wrapped up in stories, aren’t we? For stories are life. The things we talk about over potato peels and kitchen timers. The hugs we give when tears spill over. The way girls spend half an hour talking about someone’s new engagement ring and the memories and dreams it holds.

I think there will be a lot of this in this upcoming year: writing and sharing these incredibly exciting success stories, talking life over a cup of tea, and trying to weave a story out of raw data to understand the worst tragedies imaginable as I research social media and sex trafficking for my thesis.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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love. Grace for the good girl

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. anniewiltse  |  September 25, 2012 at 4:40 am

    so basically my reaction to your story about your professor is the same as yours: um, WHAT?!?!?! i’m searching for a word that goes deeper than “amazing” so i can ask, how amazing is that? and oh my goodness, i’d’ve had the same problem. TELL ME THE DANG STORY.

    i love this post. i love seeing this passion come alive in you. (maybe i should say alive in your words? haha. since i’m reading and not talking to you in person. but hey! we should fix that. skype?!) and i’m super excited to see where it takes you from here!

    Reply
  • 2. overlapped  |  September 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I may be emailing her to follow up with that story. If I do, I’ll share it!!

    And you are a sweetheart. I don’t get to write as much as I wish, but I love reading your words and seeing the passion and truth in your blog. And yes – it would be so fun to meet you in person and skype! Since apparently neither of us will be traveling to football games :/

    Reply

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