I want to let you in on a little secret. It’s something pretty big and life-altering. If you know the secret, you feel it. If you don’t know it, you seek it relentlessly without realizing it.
Centuries of people have already discovered it. The Beatles harmonized about it.
In the pouring rain, my grandmother knew it as she picked up worms from the driveway.
“What are you doing?” I’d ask.
“Oh, they love it. They love it,” she’d say as she’d place a worm back in the mud of her front yard. “When the sun comes back, they won’t roast on the pavement.”
Many people don’t know the secret like she did, and they live their lives in vain.
I was walking through campus the other day, rushing like everyone else from Point A to Point B, when I noticed a disabled student walking ahead of me. He had his hood up and head down, rushing like everyone else.
Two loud-mouth girls were walking by, and the most jaw-dropping thing happened. One of the girls started cat-calling at him. The other went into a fit of laughter.
“Want some of my Mike and Ikes?” The first one yelled, inspiring the second to let out a “Yeah, he wants them!”
They kept laughing at him and at their self-perceived hilarity as he walked on by.
What was that? I froze. Did that really just happen? Really?
But what did I do? I kept walking. I called my husband and said, “I can’t believe what just happened. I can’t believe people like that go here.”
Maybe I’m just as much an embarrassment to the University for not calling them out.
Here’s the thing, though. We pride ourselves with the thought that we fight for equality – that we stand up for what is “right.”
We seek out causes and declare war on injustices as if rallying cries were our national anthem. But no one stood up to those loud-mouth girls, not even me.
I want to let you in on a little secret, and I may lose you here, but all we need is love. Quit pointing fingers and labeling sides. You’re only digging a deeper trench. That’s not to say that injustices and inequalities shouldn’t be tackled or that people shouldn’t band together.
What I’m saying is that we can’t fight for everything, and maybe we shouldn’t.
That was a big statement, but don’t leave me yet. My husband said something the other day that got me thinking.
“What do you think it was like thousands of years ago when seeing a stranger was a major life event?” He asked me.
We were leaving the Wellness Center and as we passed another student on the sidewalk he looked at us and then averted his eyes to the ground.
“See what I mean?” My husband said. “We don’t even realize that being together is an amazing thing. We just walk on by.”
You see, when I told you I wished I had stood up and said something to those girls, I was in the wrong. I immediately resorted to pointing fingers, blaming and fighting instead of showing genuine love to a fellow student who may have needed it.
The secret to life is this: We were made to give love and receive love. We were made to connect, to network, to be actively involved in each other’s lives. No “live and let live” kind of thing; that’s too passive. We were made to share in each other’s joys and sufferings.
We were made to care for the entire world, even inchworms on the pavement in a rainstorm. We were made to listen to others and feel their pain. Where is the listening? All we do is rally cry.
Column by Kaylan Thompson, Graduate student from Murray, Ky.