Chapter 3: HEP, HEP, HOORAY!
First off, if you don't get what I'm referencing in the title, you're lame. (Just click the title & admit defeat. It's okay to be lost in the sauce.)
Second order of business, hi friend! If you're reading this and you are a Co'18, Co'19, Co'20 & so forth, scoot over. I'll get back to you in a little bit. If you're reading this & you're of college age, hang tight. I want to talk to you one on one.
If you went to a Marist affiliated school like I did (shoutout to Roselle Catholic High School), you should be familiar with the idea of service. I'm not sure if the other Marist schools around the world did, relatively, the same things, but all I know is that it was fairly easy to get involved in service opportunities (whether or not you did is another thing, though). However, when we graduate high school, it's theoretically the end of the line for a lot of things, and that includes easy access to many opportunities to get out into the world and help. Yes, you can always return as an alumni, but it's just different now. Still, you make a silent, private vow to yourself that it wouldn't be the end of your volunteering. You were still going to find a way to spread the Marist charism in the form of service. But, I don't know if you guys feel the same way, but it's definitely easier said than done.
When I got to college, I thought it was going to be fairly easy to get attached to something that'll somewhat resemble the Marist community. I was mistaken. I'm not saying that the college I go to or any college out there doesn't provide service opportunities or a Marist-like home. All I'm saying is that I haven't found it yet, but I'm still searching. But that's one of the problems. I'm searching for high school in my college environment, which is futile, to say the least. (I won't discuss my college freshman year with you guys JUST yet. I still need content for future chapters, you guys are still getting to know me as a writer, and this post isn't about me.) Also, I was looking for something grand to do, like handing out food and toiletries to the homeless or cleaning up some building or helping organize things. Maybe even one of those mission trips to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane relief. When I didn't find them, I thought that I was failing and not doing what I told myself I was going to do when I graduated. I wasn't making a difference that I was able to see firsthand like I used to.
Strangely enough, it took a short encounter with a random man outside of the Walgreens my brother works at. He was presumably homeless according to the sign he had. It's always second nature (thanks to my family and the Marist community) to give whatever I can to those in need. However, I only had a few change in my car (with my broke self) and the Pringles that I bought for myself earlier in the day. I ran to the guy with all I had, with the Pringles, and told him that I wish I could help out more. But this man, maybe twice my age, looked me straight in the eyes and told me "God bless you and your heart. You did more for me than anyone else today, so thank you." As annoyed and as crappy as I felt for not having enough to help more, it made me happy to know this seemingly little gesture made all the difference to him (but someone did wound up giving him money, so thank GOD!).
I didn't tell this story to brag that I give money to those whom I see who are in need of help at Walgreens. I tell you this story to support the following lessons I learned:
Going out into the real world to make a difference doesn't have to be very significant or grandiose. I felt more satisfaction handing Pringles to a person who was homeless outside of a Walgreens than I ever did sweeping an old garage as a service project.
Opportunities are not just given to you. You're going to have to look for them, and that's with ANYTHING.
God watches everything we do, so we don't have to prove that we try to be good people. He also rewards us in some way, too. Like, later that day, I realized that mom bought Pringles for me because I guess she loves me or something. I don't know. But, God watches!
My point, college-aged readers & up, is that though we (majority) may not partake in as many larger-scale service opportunities in college like we used to in high school, that doesn't mean we can't make a difference on a smaller scale. Find any opportunity to help, and do it. And to the the Co'18 & younger readers, same to you. Don't feel disappointed if you feel like you're not making a huge difference like you're used to. Help is help in any way, shape, or form. You can still be Marist by doing whatever you can to help those around you.
Oh, and yes. The Pringles I gave to the man were Sour Cream & Onion and the Pringles I received later that day as a present from God (through mom) was the Original flavor. As you can see, if you ever want to quickly make me happy, go for Pringles!
Sincerely Yours Sometimes,
PS: SONG OF THE WEEK: Tame Impala - New Person, Same Old Mistakes
(Every time I post, I will include a song that may or may not correlate with the topic I write about. This is me thanking you for reading my posts by gifting you with good music.)