The early morning rays of sun creeping through the blinds are tragically dull. There is an overwhelmingly grim and hopeless cloud over the black hole that is my heart. The lack of food in the kitchen makes the morning even more catastrophic. I shut my eyes tightly, still able to hear the melody of crashing waves, lyrical whistling of birds, and whisper of palm trees brushing their leaves against one another, only to open them again and see a bleak reality of manmade buildings and obnoxious college students blaring their horns at each other. I gaze down at my tan skin, longing for a brightened spirit, but no matter how many shades darker I got over the past 7 days, my soul remains in a bottomless pit without any form of escape.
Waking up at 8 AM has never seemed quite so cruel.
I’m sure you’ve gathered what day this is by now. Yep, it’s the first, heartbreaking Monday following a far too short Spring Break, aka the worst, most terribly unfortunate day that has ever existed in any college-goer’s universe.
No one smiles, and no one asks to make sure you’re okay. Everyone knows you’re not. Students drag their feet along the concrete sidewalks, and even the sun shines a little less than normal. The early wake up call was not missed, and neither were Physics and Psychology.
After somehow managing to still be breathing after a morning of classes, I make my way over to the downtown Starbucks to start working on the seemingly endless amount of studying, homework, and papers that stood unshakeable in front of me like my own personal Mount Everest. With my head down and heart empty, I opened the shop’s doors and stepped inside. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my arm, and my ears were filled with an energetic voice exclaiming my name. My eyes flipped upwards to see two tremendous, beaming sets of teeth that stretched from ear to ear on each of the two old familiar faces. Still in shock of the amount of joy overflowing in front of me, I was embraced by two girls from my old high school that were just way too happy to see me. They complimented my tan (always the best- tip to guys: tell a girl how tan she is and you’re set for a very long and fulfilling marriage), they said that it was great to see me, and pranced out the doors.
I stood there for a few seconds, slowly becoming aware of the uncontrollable stretch in my facial muscles and the opening in my lips which exposed my teeth. I was dumbfounded. How did this even make sense. This is the worst day in all of history, and I’m standing here grinning like a two year old who was just given the deluxe Barbie Dream House. The cloud over my heart had completely vanished, and it was replaced with an incandescent joy.
As dramatic as this all might sound, I mean every word of it. These girls that I honestly didn’t know that well at all treated me like I was their favorite person in the world, and made what appeared to be the worst possible 24 hours, a day that was worth enjoying to its fullest.
Joy is a difficult thing. It is not, however, to be mistaken with happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances. Joy is an orientation of the heart. It remains even in the most strenuous moments, and has no barriers or limitations. It is from a God of unconditional and everlasting love.
These girls freakin had joy. Neither our deepness of friendship nor circumstances of the day stopped them from spreading as much joy as they could in a matter of 30 seconds. This is how we should all live.
And I compare it to a spark in the dark. As small as a spark in the dark might be, it can be seen by all those around it. And if those sparks encourage further sparks, a tremendous light can be created and overcome any and all darkness. So, as easy as it is to say “my one life and heart probably won’t make much of a difference, considering how many people there are in the world,” you’re wrong. Sorry, not sorry! There is power in one heart, just as their is power in one spark.
I know this is a simple concept and something that I’m sure is found in almost every blogger’s repertoire, but I want to encourage you to really let it sink in, and maybe just try it out for one day. Just one day of taking hold of your greatest efforts in being genuinely joyous in everything you do and towards every person you encounter. You would never be able to comprehend the impact you have on someone’s day, as I’m sure these girls continued on throughout their day without a clue of the impression they had just left on my heart.
So to all you narcoleptic and dispirited spring breakers, as saddened as you might be with the atrocious return of school, have hope and be joyous! There are brighter days to come, and there are hearts that need to be stirred. Don’t let the semester fly by as you might hope it will. School sucks, but life doesn’t have to.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand- shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16 (MSG)