I walk among them everyday, I've befriended them, I've come to care for them, and still I forget.
These amazing undergrads who I talk to every day don't know how beautiful they are.
I'm reminded as I hear them disappointed over cast lists, soul-slammed by comments about weight, devastated by not being invited to lunch by a friend or shaken when they don't get a sincere "good morning" from a respected professor.
They think they need to lose weight, or be a better actor, or get better grades, or be funnier, or cooler, or a better Christian, or a better drinker, or... something. But they don't know they are beautiful RIGHT NOW. Stunning. Breath-taking.
Thomas Merton writes:
“I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the Sun.”So, I'm going to try to be more intentional about letting my new friends know about the amazing glory that is visible in them:
- I'll remind Adria that she is smart, funny, passionate, and quirky in a way that makes her fun to be around.
- I'll remind Michael that he is a kind, tender and generous soul, who makes people feel at ease around him. He is gentle, in the best meanings of that word.
- I'll remind Kelsey that in addition to her being immensely talented, that she's also a good friend with an inquisitive spirit that makes her faith immediate and inspiring.
- I'll let Camren know that he's good. He's a kind soul, who makes others feel important and cared for. And he's damn good actor.
- I'll tell Pamela that she's fun and spunky and clearly has lots of "amazing" hidden up her sleeve that she may not even know about yet.
- I won't let Jenny forget that she's super smart and at the same time, she's committed to hard work. Which means she has talent AND character (a priceless combination).
- I'll try to convey Linsday that she's on the trail of becoming a Superwoman. The kind of person that's not only smart and funny, but inquisitive and interesting.
- I'll let Patrick know that he's my friend. And that I value all of him, with no limits or qualifications.
- I'll let Marylee know that she's an enormous heart, gushing with compassion and laughter. A love-force to be reckoned with.
- I'll try to convince Louise that she possesses a power and strength forged from her life experience that makes her exude wisdom and grace.
- I'll let Mary know that she's worth loving. That she's a person who matters to the God of the universe, that underneath all the ability, skill and responsibility is a precious little girl who her heavenly father has loved even before she stepped foot on the stage of this life.
- I'll tell Jeff that he possesses a charisma and approachability that with very little investigation is revealed to be an accurate picture of who he really is. There's no pretense. He's Jeff, today, tomorrow and always. Accepting and authentic.
- Marley is classy and kind. A sweet and nurturing soul who can make anybody feel cared for in her presence.
- Adam is a joyful soul, filled so wholly with a love and fascination for life that his presence is addictive. It's hard to get enough of Adam.
- John R. is solid and even-keeled in a world where people can be a bit turbulant. Seeing John is like landing on solid ground where you know you are appreciated and welcome.
- I'll tell Sam that I'd like my boys to grow up to be just like him.
There are so many more. I'll probably do another list sometime, but for now this is the list of people that I felt "led" to encourage. And I hope that any undergrads who have read this are reminded not only of their own beauty, but also the beauty of their friends.
You guys are stunning, really.