Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Break--A Humbling Experience

What if you had nothing? Nothing tangible that is. No car, computer, ipod, credit card, clothes, pictures of loved ones, or place to call home. Think about your happiness. Would you be as happy as you are today with all these things? Or perhaps, just maybe, you could be happier?

As hard as it is for some of us to comprehend, happiness is possible even in the most unfortunate of situations.

This past week, many college students across the nation celebrated the well known holiday of…SPRING BREAK!!!  Some students headed to the beaches, others to the slopes for skiing, myself and nine other KSU students traveled to Dallas Texas for what we call an “Alternative Spring Break.” An easier way to put it, a mission trip. We spent a week at a retreat center at night, and volunteering at an array of different groups droning the day.


One of the highlights for many of the student on the trip was our time spent at Austin Street Homeless Shelter. For two days we prepared and served lunches to about 150 homeless people. After we had handed out all the lunches, we had time to talk with a few of the homeless present, and eventually play BINGO with them!


I must admit, the first day we pulled up to the shelter located it what many of us would call a “sketchy” part of town, I was scared. Never, EVER had I just gone up and made conversation with a homeless person—much less for hours at a time!


Becky, suck it up! You LOVE people! These people are just like anyone else, and probably have some more interesting stories than most!” --(Me talking to myself before we entered the shelter.)


The fear that I originally had soon disappeared as we began to talk with the cheerful and appreciative homeless. Every time I handed one of them their lunch they would say comments like “Thank you SO much,” or “Thank you, God bless you!” WOW! My favorite comment was when I asked one lady coming through the line how her day was going. Her response was “Wonderful! Every day is wonderful from the moment I wake up.”


This woman, who has absolutely nothing to her name but the little duffle bag on her cot in the shelter has the ability to wake up each morning and be happy. Amazing. After making some new friends at the shelter I took a lot of time to reflect. How many times do we wake up in a bad mood because we didn’t finish everything on our to-do list from the day before. How often do we allow a small interruption in our calendar get us stressed and upset? I don’t know about you, but I most definitely can slide into these traps of feeling pessimistic verses optimistic.

My new homeless friend, “sister” was what she told be to call her, gave me a smack in the face! Don’t let the past or the small uncontrollable factors in life get you down! Yes, we have heard this advice before, but it never hit me as hard as when sister said it. Most of us are very blessed to have a roof over our head, friends and family there for us if we need them, the ability to buy food when we are hungry, and for some of us, even perks like laptops and cell phones.  Don’t let these tangible items fool you. It doesn’t take material items to make you happy. Happiness is a choice, a choice only you can make! 

If someone who has nothing can wake up each morning and see the silver lining, why can’t we do the same? This week, try not to focus on the minuscule tasks that stress you out, but rather see the bigger picture. What is really, and I mean really important? Love, service, health, relationships…what reasons to you have to be happy? The more you think about it, the more blessings you will find you have then you realized before.






1 comment:

  1. Live the dream. Daily. It's too short not to take risks, love life, and appreciate everything we've been given.

    I dig these blogs :)