Allison sharing her smile and many gifts with a student at Mt. St. Vincent Home
All Is a Gift
Allison Duber CVV 23
Have you ever wondered what makes you come alive?
I’m not talking about listening to your heart beat or making sure you’re breathing.
Most people think that they have to jump out of an airplane to really feel alive, but I believe there are many small moments each day that tend to be overlooked. These moments pass right in front of our eyes when we aren’t paying enough attention.
Imagine yourself getting on a crowded bus in the city after a long day at work. You’re exhausted and all you want to do is sit and not be bothered. You take out your phone, put your headphones in and your eyes never look up the entire ride. When your stop comes, you walk off the bus with a blank stare, merely in your own world.
Little did you know that during the ride, there were two teenagers in front of you singing a song from your favorite band. When you first got onto the bus, there was an elderly man who asked you for money but you just walked on by. If you would have looked out the window, the sun was setting in a gorgeous array of colors.
Now let’s do this over.
You’re waiting at a bus stop after a long day at work. An elderly man walks by with a sign that says “God Bless” and asks you to spare any change. Instead of ignoring him, you start a conversation and realize that you two have many things in common. It has actually made your day to stop and talk to this man even though you had no money to give. Your bus arrives as you wave goodbye to your new friend and you find a seat in the back of the bus behind 2 teenagers. Putting your phone in your bag, you take a deep breath and play your conversation with the elderly man over in your head. After a few minutes, you hear the teenagers in front of you singing, and you can’t help but smile and hum along. You turn your head to see people pointing at the sky, and you join them in awe and wonder as the sky lights up in pinks and oranges. When your stop comes, you get off the bus with life in your eyes, still humming your favorite tune, surprisingly you’re not as tired as you were before.
The feelings that arise from these two scenarios can be played out anywhere at anytime. Whether you’re on a bus, on a walk, or in your own home, there are many opportunities that can bring you or others out of their misery. It doesn’t take much effort to put the phone down, look around, and maybe….just maybe….smile.
Unfortunately, existing in our world today is kind of like experiencing a slow death. So many things crave our attention and suck the life right out of us. We are too independent, too selfish, too ignorant, and this causes us to ignore our neighbor’s problems with the belief that “if it isn’t hurting me, then I don’t need to do anything about it.”
We forget our purpose in this life is to proclaim the gospel in word and in deed.
After I have done a year of service, I am so much more observant of people when I am out in public. When I am totally focused on my surroundings and people around me instead of my own tunnel vision, I am able to read facial expressions and body mannerisms and tell when someone looks really lonely or sad. In that moment, I ask God for courage, and I approach them if it is possible. Maybe their existence just needs to be acknowledged to bring them back to life.
I can remember multiple times when I befriended strangers when I went downtown Denver, and I never regretted it. These were the moments that made me feel alive. When I was sprinting down Colfax Street, late for a meeting, and a guy raised his hand up so I could give him a high five. When I was jogging home from the Rec. Center and a guy stopped me to give me free flowers. When I was on my way to lunch, and I met a retired veteran who I sat on the corner with for an hour and a half sharing stories. When I befriended a man on his way to choir practice and we sang Christmas songs together all the way down the road. Sometimes just a simple smile or head nod would make my day too. Times when I could have glued my eyes to my phone, I witnessed beautiful acts of kindness around me that restored my faith in humanity.
If we all just made a little more effort to check on the ones we loved, or more importantly, acknowledge the existence of those we don’t know, I believe our world would be on fire with love. We all need to swallow our pride and seek to be low instead of high, interact with the “least of these”, and open our eyes to the beauty that is all around us.
When your caught off guard by true and authentic love of humanity, when someone you don’t know acknowledges your existence or when the sky is so captivatingly beautiful that your eyes and heart are completely satisfied. This is what it feels to be alive.
Wherever you are, remember the person next to you is more than just a heartbeat. For in all honesty, you are in the presence of the Son of God, since he is alive in every one of us.
He is the ultimate beat of our hearts.
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”