Friday, January 27, 2017

A Service State of Mind

Wow oh wow I have not posted on this dumpster fire of a blog in a long time.


What better way to revive this thing (temporarily, probably) than by talking about my favorite thing at Mizzou?

About two weeks ago, I returned back to Columbia from what may have been my last trip with Mizzou Alternative Breaks. The last week of this past winter break I got to return to L'Arche Jacksonville (where my MAB trip served in 2016). So please take the time to imagine 12 college students crammed into a 12 passenger van with all of their luggage and stuff for 15 hours. Done visualizing that potential dumpster fire? One fart and things could have gone to absolute shit. But everyone held their flatulence (that's a lie) and here I am digressing again...

I wish everyone in the world could experience the happiness and love you feel at L'Arche Jacksonville. Because that happiness and joy on a global level could solve a lot of problems. L'Arche is my happy place. I think it's everyone's happy place, actually, because every day that I was there over the past two years everyone just seemed happy.

And 12 students from Missouri got to experience a piece of that happiness. And we got to share meals with a community that fosters that happiness. And we got to feel a little bit of the love that resides at L'Arche, and the impact it had on us was profound. Maybe not "drop-what-you're-doing-and-change-you-major-so-you-can-start-a-non-profit" profound, but that kind of stuff only happens on Hallmark channel reruns.

The love and happiness we got to be part of at L'Arche was blissfully simple. They all love one another and find joy in being with each other, and they opened up their homes and their hearts to us without hesitation. You don't find that in very many places, but I wish you could. I truly wish you could.

And I can't think of 11 friends I would have rather had that experience with. Brianne's patience, Caleb's sass, Cayla's enthusiasm (and ability to budget cause god knows I can't), Erin's kindness, Jamie's humor, Jess' energy, Jordan's drive, Kylie's passion, Molly's thoughtfulness, Paul's charisma, and Sam's open heart (among many other qualities they all possess) have surely made me a better person and words will never be able to describe what it means that I got to share this experience with all of them.

If you are a Mizzou student and you have not gone on an MAB trip yet, I implore that you do so before your time at Mizzou is over. It will change your life.

To the people at L'arche Jacksonville: Thank you. A million times from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for letting Mizzou into your home for the third time (and hopefully many more times in the future). Thank you for letting us into your hearts and sharing your joy for the world and life with us. You have touched our hearts and we can't wait to show the rest of the people in our lives that joy and love.

To the incredible people that shared this trip (and ridiculous van ride) with me: I love each and every one of you and am a better person for knowing you. And this is probably the nicest you'll ever see me, so screen shot it. Each of you was picked by Cayla and I because of your compassion for giving yourselves to others. I can't wait to see how you use that compassion in other parts of your life. You inspire me each and every day.

To Mizzou Alternative Breaks: Without the people that make this organization run, these opportunities would not be possible. There's a reason we're the biggest, and best, collegiate alternative breaks program in the country. Every coordinator, graduate assistant, board member, site leader, and participant has helped to shape what this organization has come to be and will continue to grow into. Thank you for being the best part of my Mizzou experience and for contributing to the Mizzou experience of so many other tigers.

I truly believe that every single person has the capacity to show love and kindness to one another. It's my hope that this capacity is utilized by anyone and everyone so that the world can become that much better of a place in the future.

Be kind. Do good. Show love.

-- Tyler