Column: Sidewalks

You’re late to class. It’s 7:53 a.m. You have an eight o’clock class in Alumni, and your roommate is piddling around at the sink. “I don’t have time for this!” you think. “I have a test! Oh no, I don’t have any Grade Masters either! I guess I can ask the girl who sits next to me if I can have one. I don’t know her name though… Seriously, how long does it take to brush your teeth?” Finally, your roommate moves out of the way, you fix your bed-head and sprint off to class.

Many of us have faced situations similar to this, myself included. We consistently find ourselves dwelling in the “places to go, things to see” mindset. Often we are bent toward selfish and egotistical mentalities. We put our needs before others, learn peoples’ names for our convenience and shut out the world around us as if our lives are the most important. We often walk to class, work, rehearsals or sports practices with our eyes glued to the sidewalk, thinking only of what we have to do and what is going on in our lives.

As we all have heard, college is naturally one of the most self-centered times of life. From choosing a major to searching for a spouse, we tend to accept the false reality that this life is about us.

Many times I have caught myself staring at the ground, focused on my own life, my own problems and my own destination, while totally ignoring the blurred people in my peripherals. What about their lives, their problems and their destinations? Do I care? Do you?

I challenge you to lift your eyes from your personal sidewalk to look at the world around you. Behold the beauty outside of your daily problems and upcoming projects. Observe the faces of the people you pass every day instead of brushing them aside as unimportant distractions. Walk down someone else’s personal sidewalk. Hear their story. Remember their name. Who knows? Maybe you’ll impact a life.

Last fall I was a freshman at BJU, and I hadn’t had much luck getting to know anyone. One day after classes, I was heading to my residence hall room fully prepared for a night to focus on homework, when a guy from one of my classes called after me, “Hey, do you want to come to the ice cream social tonight? Some of my friends and I are going.”

The thought of being released from the shackles of textbooks was enticing. “Sure,” I said. Through his simple, selfless action, I gained one of my greatest comrades.

In the end, it will not be the “A” on the test, how many points you scored during a basketball game or how many acting roles you have played that will hold value. Rather, the people you met, the experiences you shared and the investments you made in others’ lives will reap the greatest treasures.

So stop staring at the sidewalk. This extraordinary thing called the outside world dwells above your lowered gaze.